Elias Henders is the owner of a prosperous ranch and gold mine in 1880’s Arizona. One day an Apache attack kills him and leaves his nineteen year old daughter Diana in charge. The will that was written was between Elias and his brother. It stated that the surviving brother would inherit everything. Shortly after Elias dies so does his brother out east. His daughter comes out with some unscrupulous eastern businessmen and claims that the ranch and mine are legally her. They also attempt to frame Diana’s friend Bull as the bandit of Hell’s Bend. The bandit has been robbing stagecoaches.Luckily Bull is able to find papers that prove that Diana is the rightful heir and the two eventually get marries.
This was Burroughs first western. It is an interesting story in that the characters are colorful and comic. An introduction by Robert Moseberger an English professor goes on that Burroughs was someone actually qualified to write about the west. He served in the cavalry in the 1890’s and later worked on his brothers ranch in Idaho. He based many of the characters on actual people that he knew. The book has an authentic feel about the old west. An interesting book that I would recommend.
Major Revell and his Special Combat Company are on leave in Munich. Munich is just on the edge of the Zone and is a major armaments production center for the war effort. On the night they are getting ready to go back on assignment a Soviet transport breaks through the air defenses. It drops two hundred highly trained Spetsnaz commandos into the city. Their job is to cause massive disruption to the city and cripple the war effort.
Revell and his SCC are the only available men to fight them. They must go from one hot spot in the city to another. They find themselves fighting among innocent civilians. Mistakes are made and innocents die, property destroyed. The SCC not only battle the Spetsnaz but their own leadership. Revell in disgust at the end decides to desert and take his men into the Zone to fight his own way.
I love the Bavarians. World War III is going on and they still find time for their Oktoberfest. Well this is the last of the Zone books published. The series lasted for ten years and actually outlasted the Warsaw Pact. The Soviet Union would follow a year later so world events were making this series obsolete. I have heard of a tenth book called Death March. Wikipedia lists it as coming out in 2007 but only as a pdf from an Australian company. Amazon does list the nine books available as either print or kindle. It also sounds that Death March doesn’t continue from Body Count since many characters that died in past books are in it. Hopefully some day I might get the chance to read Death March.
The series was your typical Zebra Men’s Adventure book series. Lots of action and sex designed to appeal to young teens and twentysomethings. Now the whole setup of a prolonged engagement in Western Europe for over three years is neither politically or economically feasible. The Soviets were little more than cardboard cutout villains and the plots were wildly improbable.
Still as a young teenager I really enjoyed the books. They were fast paced and populated with a wide variety of larger than life characters. After all these years I still found it enjoyable and it brought back some great memories. I find it appropriate how it ended. I can see these goofy characters continuing their never ending war in the Zone. So I bid adieu to Major Revell, Sgt. Hyde, Psycho Andrea, Obnoxious Dooley, Hillbilly Ripper and Goldbricking Burke. They fade into the mists of history and my childhood.
Maggie Lynch is caught by police officer Doarty as she is climbing down a fire escape from Farris place. Abe Farris runs a notorious brothel and Doarty is not getting the kickbacks that he thinks he deserves. So he uses Maggie as a pawn in his dispute. Maggie decides that she has had enough with the sleazy red light district and sets out to find a more respectable life.
She finds out that the business world is full of greed and deceit even more than the streets she left behind. She finds a job as a secretary to Odgen Secor a respectable businessman. One night he is hit over the head in a robbery. While incapacitated his business partner runs the company into the ground. He finds himself friendless and starts over in Idaho where he strikes it rich in finding gold.
Maggie now using her real name June Lathrop is arrested for the murder of his father John Secor. Luckily an amateur detective finds the real murderer.
This book was written in 1913 and is one of his realistic books. If my summary is a bit confusing that is because this book was confusing to me. It starts off good but in the second half he sort of crams everything together and it becomes a jumbled mess. It is supposed to be social commentary on the corruption of Chicago. I think that it does portray an accurate picture of the society at that time and the slang is very authentic. It still doesn’t make up for the dull and confusing plot. This is one of my least favorite Burrough’s books.
So unless your a Burrough’s completest I would skip this book.
Copyright 1964 published after author’s death.
The continuing story of Shoz-Djiji the adopted white son of Geronimo. Shoz had just defeated his enemy Juh after he killed his love Ish-kay-nay. The story finds the Apache tribe lead by Geronimo in a tough situation. They have been driven out of Mexico and are now surrounded by the US cavalry. With no other choice Geronimo must surrender his people. The Apache are disarmed and sent to live on a reservation in Oklahoma. Shoz-Dijiji refuses to surrender and instead goes off on his own.
He will though honor the spirit of the treaty and plunder and kill the whites no more. He befriends a white woman named Wichita Billings. Evil white men kidnap Wichita and Shoz-Dijiji must take up arms for the last time on a blood soaked trail of revenge.
The ending of the saga of Shoz-Dijiji and the Apache. The Apache were the last tribe to surrender. This is another good story about the Apache and their sad ending. I think these two books are great in telling the history and culture of the Apache. It is also a good action packed western.
A man and his Cherokee wife are traveling through New Mexico when they are attacked by none other than Geronimo. The couples infant son is adopted by Geronimo and raised as an Apache. The son at the age of ten kills a black bear and earns his name Shoz-Dijiji which means black bear in Apache. Shoz-Dijiji grows into a powerful warrior and war chief of the Apache. He raids and fight not only Mexicans and white settlers but must contend with Juh a fellow Apache who hates Shoz-Dijiji. They both are competing for the affections of Ish-kay-nay.
This is a book that was a pleasant surprise. It has a fascinating story that tells about the culture and history of the Apache. The author is clearly sympathetic to them. The Apache are portrayed as a proud people that a harsh land has made to be a harsh people. Burrough’s did serve in the cavalry briefly in the southwest. He clearly developed an admiration for them and the history and culture seem to be quite genuine.
A shaky truce has been called in the Zone. Major Revell and his Special Combat Company are not in favor with the higher ups and assigned mundane guard duty. Their prisoners are from the worst of the Russian POWS, criminals, murders and such. Stripped of there heavy armor and equipment they must supervise these prisoners in rebuilding roads in a quiet sector of the Zone.
They settle in for the mundane duty but soon make a gruesome discovery. Over two thousand refugees are found buried, victims of a massacre. Revell’s reports lead to a high ranking general visiting with orders to keep silent. The bodies are disposed of and all trace of their existence covered up. The politicians do not want to upset the truce so they cover up the incident. If Revell continues to press the issue he is threatened with court martial and the disbandment of his men.
The massacre was done by the KGB Disciplinary Battalion 717 nicknamed ‘Beria’s sons’. A unit composed of the dregs of the KGB. It is run by a Colonel Tarkovski the most depraved human that ever lived. Tarkovski launches a raid that kills several of the SCC. Later the SCC finds another hundred victims of the KGB, all of them little children.
Revell and his men have had enough. They decide to administer their own brand of justice and to hell with the consequences.
The eighth book in the series is a sort of leisurely read. Not a lot of action it mostly deals with the indifference and cynicism of politicians. Something that there is no shortage of in the real world. You get a feeling of the futility of the war they are waging and that it seems to have no end.
The company gains some new characters.
Sampson the medic who dedicates his free time in helping the refugees.
Garett the practical joker and clown
Ackerman a first rate scrounger
Thorne dies in the beginning when they attack a convoy.
Clarence the sniper that was one of the original crew. He make his goal of killing 100 communist for each of his family that was killed. Decides he has had enough and eats a bullet. A very disturbed man who anyone could see was destined to kill himself.
Ole Gunderstrom has been shot. The circumstantial evidence points to Buck Mason as the murder. Buck and Ole had an argument over a fence between their property. Since Buck the deputy sheriff disappeared right after the murder everyone thinks that he is guilty.
Buck knows he is innocent and has opted to go undercover. Adopting the persona of Bruce Marvel a wealthy eastern tenderfoot he checks into the TF dude ranch. The owner Cory Blaine is running a cattle rustling. Buck acts the perfect clueless easterner but there are instances that betray his knowledge of the west. Skillful detective work results in the capture of the real murderer.
This is a interesting book that has well thought out characters and consistent action. Burroughs lived and worked on ranches in Idaho and Arizona so there is a feeling of authenticity in the stories. It is set in modern times i.e. 1940 but has the feel of a western. One of four westerns that he wrote and this one is my favorite.
Life on the Pennington ranch is hard but removed from the problems of the big city. Unfortunately the problems are coming to the ranch. Custer the son has a drinking problem and his best friend Guy Evans is involved in smuggling bootleg whiskey. Guy is an aspiring writer that wants to marry Custer’s sister Eva. He needs money so that is why he turns to the bootlegging operation.
While this is happening a young actress Shannon Burke gets the news that her mother has died and she must dispose of some property in the country. Shannon had high hopes when she came to Hollywood but was tricked by a sleazy producer onto cocaine and now sells drugs for him. While visiting the ranch Shannon is taken in by the Pennington’s. She finds the life in the country peaceful and kicks the drug habit and falls in love with Custer.
It all comes crashing down when the sleazy producer comes out to make a movie. Guy’s partners in the bootleg business frame Custer for murder of the producer. Shannon’s secret is exposed and Custer is arrested.
Wow drug use in Hollywood. Sleazy producers getting young impressionable girls hooked on drugs. Its so great that in the last eighty years the entertainment industry has been able to clean up its image. This is not your typical Burroughs story. The male lead is an alcoholic and the female lead is a drug addict. Not what you’d expect to find in one of his stories. The story is set in the real contemporary world of his time with none of the fantastical elements.
I give him a lot of credit for going out of his comfort zone to try something new. I’m sure he had some exposure to Hollywood from the Tarzan movies that were made. The story except for the prohibition bootlegging subplot is as relevant today as it was eighty years ago. It has mystery, courtroom drama, and fair amount of action.
A thief breaks into the home of Jonas Prim the president of the Oakdale bank and cleans out the safe of money and jewelry. He then goes out and meets a group of hobos. The hobos with such names as Dopey Charlie, Soup Face, Dirty Eddie and the Sky Pilot. This bunch is a tough lot and the boy tries to get into their good graces by calling himself the Oskaloosa kid and showing his stolen loot. This was not a good idea as the hobos try to murder him for the money.
The kid flees and runs into Bridge the poetic tramp that was the Muckers companion in the last book. Bridge has to save him from the hobos plus a private detective and a lynch mob. The man the kid stole from has his daughter Abigail missing and another man murdered. Throw in a traveling gypsy and her trained bear and you have one adventurous night. The ending come with a whole pile of coincidences and one revelation that was totally out there.
This book is a hard one to write a short coherent review. It is short but the story is written as all plot and action. There is almost no description or character thought so it takes a while for the reader to figure out what is going on. It is an interesting story that I think any fan of Burroughs will enjoy. The ending was a complete surprise that I never saw coming.
The second book finds Billy Byrne back in Chicago hoping to start a new life. Unfortunately his old life comes back to haunt him. An old acquaintance turns him in to the police for he is still wanted for murder and quickly arrested. He escapes and goes on the run. He meets a hobo named Bridge who sprouts poetry. The two head off down to Mexico.
Mexico during this time is in the midst of a civil war. Gringos are not popular but Byrne fall in with a rebel general bandit named Pesita. Bridge goes to work on an American owned ranch that is owned by Barbara’s father. Barbara is down there with him after breaking off her engagement. Eventually she gets kidnapped and Byrne has to rescue her. The two then work out their differences and end up happily married.
The sequel to the first Mucker book is not that good as the first. It does tie up the loose end of Byrne’s and Barbara’s romance so it is crucial for the whole Mucker story arc.