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Say It With Bullets by Richard Powell
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Say It With Bullets (1953)

by Richard Powell

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Pulpy goodness. ( )
  encephalical | Aug 28, 2018 |
It only takes a few notes to know if you'll like a song, just a few frames to know if it's your kind of movie, just a glance to know if you are going to be nuts about a gal. Powell sold me on this book before I
finished page one and I stayed sold until I reached the conclusion the very same evening. This book takes you on a high speed journey and there simply aren't any brakes.

In this case, the publisher's blurb on the cover gets it right. Bill and five buddies were doing business in China when the war ended. The Reds were taking over in 1949 and they had to scram but someone,
one of his buddies, put a bullet in Bill's back and they left him for dead as the Communists took over. Four years later, Bill recovers from his wounds and returns to the States. Immediately, someone shoots him. Someone, someone he thought was his buddy, is out to knock him off.

Bill decides he'll look his buddies up in Cheyenne, in Salt Lake, in Reno, in San Fran, and in LA. He's got a .45 and if he doesn't get answers he likes someone else is gonna take a bullet and be left for
dead. He signs on with a western bus tour that stops in these cities. He's got an alibi now -- just a crazy tourist. He's too bent on revenge to notice the hot blonde tour guide is someone from his childhood, too crazy with anger to convince her he
belongs with the middle aged slobs on the bus trip. Maybe he's getting paranoid. Wouldn't you if someone kept trying to kill you?
Powell writes like someone's hot on his heels. A fantastic piece of
literature. Wow!
( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
who is trying to kill him, and why? the answers lie along a bus tour through the west in the early 1950's. ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
Richard Powell's "Say It With Bullets" was originally published in hardcover by Simon and Schuster in 1953, with a paperback edition released by Graphic Books in 1954. The book subsequently went out of print until it's republication by Hard Case Crime (volume 18) in March 2006. This 50 years gap in publication is a real shame as "Say It With Bullets" is a clever, witty and relentless yarn. The story concerns Bill Wayne who used to be a cargo pilot flying missions around pre-Communist China, with five buddies. When an opportunity comes up to "liberate" some gold Bill isn't up for it and finds himself shot in the back by one of his friends. He survives, however, and back in America after his recuperation he decides to track down his five buddies and ask some questions and if necessary to do some killing. To avoid suspicion he signs up for a bus tour of the Old West, which conveniently stops in the cities where his ex-buddies live. Unfortunately for him the hostess on the trip is pretty blonde Holly Clark, a girl from his past who now wants to get better acquainted. Holly sticks to Bill like glue and when the bodies begin to pile up she starts to put things together. "Say It With Bullets" isn't a deep or complex book but it is a great read full of mystery, intrigue and in Bill Wayne a compelling protagonist. Bill isn't your typical, no scruples hard-boiled hero; instead he's quite a complex character – he wants revenge but he's not 100% sure how to go about it; he wants to confront those who shot him but doesn't know what to say; he wants to kill but is unsure whether he can go through with it or not. Richard Powell cleverly writes Bill as quite a self-aware narrator who has plenty of human foibles. The other main supporting characters are interesting particularly the slightly annoying and clingy Holly and the clichéd cowboy deputy, who may have more to him than the dumb surface he portrays. Powell blends in a decent amount of humour, with the story delivering plenty of sardonic wit and the occasional very clever quip. The action can be a touch formulaic at times but the relentless pace keeps the attention away from the elements that don't work so well. The ending, although satisfying, seems pretty rushed as if Powell ran out of time or energy. Despite these quibbles "Say It With Bullets" is still a very good, fast-paced, cleverly-plotted and witty tale with an excellent central protagonist. Although not amongst the very best from the Hard Case Crime line, this is still a hugely enjoyable read, full of clever mystery and intrigue. Hard Case deserves great credit for rescuing it from 50 years of obscurity. ( )
  calum-iain | Oct 25, 2014 |
Another from the same era as "Night Walker", the Hamilton book I just read. Instead of the communist menace, this one was a war time holdover from a bunch that worked in China after WWII. The plot was pretty straight forward, but there were a lot of twists & turns getting there. The basis for them was a little contrived, but all in all it was a good book. There were some coincidences that stained the fabric a bit, but nothing too terrible. Another fun read from HCC. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Sep 25, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Powellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Koelsch, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At the overnight stop in North Platte, Nebraska, Bill Wayne didn't copy the other tourists in the party when they bought postcards to mail to friends.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Bullets fly when Bill Wayne sets off on a road trip to find out which of his former army buddies shot him in the back and left him for dead.

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