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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Jack's adventures in The Wild West

I've always been fascinated by anything to do with the history of the American West and the myth that has developed alongside the real historical fact. Indeed in many ways the myth of the time often eclipse the facts in people's minds. People like Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Buffalo Bill and old Jesse James have had more lies and half truths written about them than  firm documented evidence.

No wonder though - because the West was being mythologised even while it was happening.

A man that created much of how we perceive the Wild West was Buffalo Bill Cody with his extravagant Wild West Shows which brought the legends of the frontier to audiences around the world. I've had a long and lasting interest in Cody and think I understand the kind of man he was and it is never far from my mind that before he was a showman, a performer he was an actual living Wild West Legend.

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Which was why using Cody in a novel appealed to me - I'd previously written two best-selling westerns for Robert Hale under the Jack Martin name, but this was not a western, or least not a traditional western. In truth it's a hybrid of the historical crime thriller and the western. Which is why I used my own name rather than my now established Jack Martin identity.

Jack Martin will remain with the traditional westerns, while his other self Gary Dobbs pens, for his sins, the Frank Parade crime series.

 Right off I knew didn't want to present Buffalo Bill with the primitive frontier as a backdrop, I wanted to show him almost as a fish out if water, though in truth Cody was never truly out of place, no matter where he was.

The result was my novel, A Policeman's Lot which saw Cody in industrial South Wales and as well as Western legends I also played around with  an equally mythical character, Jack the Ripper. For both of these men have had more lies written about them than fact and indeed in the case of Jack the Ripper we don't even know if he was, in fact, a she. Or indeed if there truly was a Jack the Ripper - I mean this in the sense of a serial killer roaming the dark streets of Victorian London.

Into the mix comes a no-nonsense Welsh copper, Inspector Frank Parade, who with both Cody's help and hindrance uncovers a trail that leads back to the infamous Whitechapel murders of sixteen years earlier.

I think the result is a thrilling read and quite unique in the answer it throws up for the Ripper killings - the reviews have been positive and the eBook is out there now, in most formats to be read on your eReader or even computer screen. Buy from Amazon and get the book on your Kindle or computer in less than a minute.

The UK price is only £3.62
The American $5.74

Below is one of the reviews posted on Amazon:

It was no surprise that I would like this book. The author had previously entertained me with two fine westerns(as Jack Martin).

Inspector Frank Parade of the Welsh town of Pontypridd heads a two man police force that is busy enough. When Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show arrives with it's five hundred performers and eight hundred livestock, never mind the thousands attending the shows, things get a lot worse.

Then the murders start up, involving a sixteen year old series of unexplained deaths. Throw in a thief, once arrested by Parade, who had threatened his life and had escaped prison by murdering a guard, a number of home break-ins, and superiors who want a fast, easy solution, and you have a fast moving novel that doesn't let up until the end.

And what an end.

The author uses Parade and Buffalo Bill to offer his own unique solution to the greatest unsolved serial killer mystery in history. RANDY JOHNSON - FIVE STAR REVIEW

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