Reviews of Arkansas Smith:
From Joanne Walpole/ Terry James - This is by far one of the most entertaining books I have read this year. Jack Martin (aka Gary Dobbs) brings together stereotypical Old West characters, scenes and backdrops and infuses them with a life of their own. His descriptions give you enough information to form a picture without going into overload, his dialogue is obtuse (a good thing, in my opinion, and rare), his fight scenes are precise and clear. I also enjoyed Jack's turn of phrase and the humour peppered throughout the pages. It left me with a satisfied smile on my face.
From western fiction review - writing is confident and moves at pace, the story building up nicely to its final shoot-out. Smith is not the only memorable character, Rycot being one of my favourites. And for those in the know, Gary also tips his hat to a few other Black Horse Western writers by having characters named after their pseudonyms - he even mentions himself - which I felt was a fun touch.
The book is easy to read and difficult to put down, and left me eager for more tales about Arkansas Smith.
From Laurie Powers Wild West - There is a sadness about Arkansas Smith that I found unsettling and yet compelling. He has a "void deep inside himself that felt on times like a cavity in his soul. It was a need for identity that would always be there and would never be fulfilled." He's a man of few words and when he smiles, it's a grim smile that hints at a lot of tragedies played out in the past. He is an enigma who keeps his personal history to himself and who doesn't offer up too many explanations. While we are caught up in the dilemma at hand, we are never allowed to forget that we are dealing with a mysterious man here who has a few bones to pick with the world. In the post-modern world, he would be diagnosed as clinically depressed. In the 19th century western, though, he's simply trying to deal with the hand that's been dealt him.