Now to step back through the years a moment - when I first started reading westerns, and that was a heck of a long time ago, you could find western paperbacks in most bookshops, but these days it's hard enough finding a bookshop let alone a westerns. And so by making the book available electronically we can replicate the days of cheap mass market westerns. eBooks never need go out of print and so the sales potential is without boundaries, and I do hope a great many of you will shell out just a couple of pounds for Arkansas Smith - I think I can guarantee a good read and a few hours of pleasure.
Check out the reviews below and click on the image of the eBook cover and you'll be taken to Amazon where you can read a sample before buying. You really can't go wrong.
And don't forget to read on for the Q & A with Jack Martin.
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.
So I do hope the reviews make you yearn some western adventure and that you take my hand and let me lead you into the Old West.
Now, I suppose, all writer are a little schizophrenic and so the following interview was conducted by myself and with myself - Gary Dobbs talks to alter ego, Jack Martin.
Q&A With Jack Martin
Q -Why does a Welshman write westerns
A- I've always been passionate about the genre, ever since being introduced to it as a very young child by my grandfather. His name was Jack Martin by the way and when I started writing westerns it seemed natural to adopt his name. It's a kind of tribute to a man who meant so much to me and a man whom I still miss.
Q- You've long championed eBooks. Why?
A: Well it is like I say - one time westerns were available everywhere but these days it's hard to find any in British bookshops, and I don't believe the situation is any better in the US. And not just westerns but a whole selection of genre fiction has all but vanished. I've always believed that when eReaders went mainstream the type of books we used to read will come back and indeed have started to come back. I think the Kindle is the single most important development in popular reading since the invention of the paperback.
Q - So who is Arkansas Smith?
A - Ha ha - I'm not sure if I know, but readers will be able to explore the character now that the eBook is available and hopefully by the end of the book many of their questions will be answered, but also there should be enough left to bring them back again.
Q- So update us on all that's happening in Jack Martin World.
A - Well I'm still hoping that the film version of my novel, Tarnished Star will get off the ground. The project is currently with talented director, Neil Jones of Burnhand Films and although things are a little bit uncertain in the film business at the moment, I firmly believe this project will lift off soon. The film will be called LawMaster and I know Neil will deliver a great western. On the fiction front, my fourth hardcover will come out from Robert Hale this October. It's called Wild Bill Williams and I really don't believe there's ever been a hero like Bill Williams in all western fiction. I've got a few other projects on the go and have also got to put on my Vincent Stark hat and give my attention to a few projects that have stalled due to a massively increased workload this year.
Arkansas Smith is out there now
Wild Bill Williams in print this October