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Longarm on the Border by Tabor Evans
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Longarm on the Border

by Tabor Evans

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Longarm on the Border by Melvin Marshall

The second of the long-running Longarm pulp western series. I was looking forward to reading this second Longarm book as the synopsis just sounded a little more interesting to me. Less likely to be a mystery wearing a stetson, which is what parts of the first book felt like.

At first I was a little disappointed with the book. Longarm riding into the disreputable border town of Los Perros just wasn’t as suspenseful or tinged with menace as I thought it would be. There was an interesting dynamic of Longarm playing it cagey with the corrupt sheriff, so it was still entertaining, but not quite what I'd hoped it would be.

Things improve dramatically though as Longarm follows a trail of dirty deeds across the border to Mexico. Before you can say ‘Remember the Alamo!’, Longarm is up to his neck in cattle rustling, crooked Mexican police, a jailbreak and a chase back to the (relative) safety of the Rio Grande and the border and good old Los Perros. This second half of the book flew by in a wave of exhilarating pacing.

The exciting second half made up for the first and overall I enjoyed the book. For me it outshone the first book. The narrative flourishes I'd enjoyed so much in the first book were missing from this one (I’m guessing this one was written by a different author?), but the dialogue was better, less hokey. The characters are still two-dimensional or less, but I really didn’t expect any different. I don’t think it’s fair to expect rich characterization in a pulp novel. These books are written with a different purpose in mind.

One strike against this book is the sex scenes. The Longarm books always contain a minimum of four semi-graphic sex scenes. Let’s be honest, I enjoy those scenes and can not knock the series for their inclusion. However in this book they came off as forced. They didn’t naturally flow from the events in the story the way they did in the first book. Here they would crop up at the unlikeliest times. I think that the nature of the story being told didn’t naturally lend itself to sexual situations and the author was sort of forced to wedge them in. Though they were fun to read, I think this book would have been better if some of the scenes were omitted.

Hey, if my biggest gripe about a book is that there are too many sex scenes, it can’t be that bad, huh? ( )
  jseger9000 | Jun 9, 2009 |
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