Friday, January 13, 2012

The Friday Five

Over the holiday season, I stumbled across some booksellers who were offering for sale a series of books I had read and loved as a teenager. The series first appeared as magazine serials in the 1940's and 1950's under the pen name of T.W. Ford. These were shoot-em-up westerns of the golden era of westerns. The stories were compiled into novels written by Abel Shott (is that not the BEST western fiction writer name EVER???) Each story centered around Solo Strant, "The Silver Kid" and his quest for justice, law, and rescuing the damsel in distress.

I loved these books as a kid, and when they started to arrive in those yellow envelopes over the past couple of weeks, I jumped into the stories with the same abandon. I was taken right back to those summer afternoons in the Salina Public Library.

I have long been a fan of westerns, so for today's Friday Five, it's my five favorite Western Writers:

1. Zane Grey. The mac-daddy of western authors. Favorites include: The Drift Fence and The Hash Knife Outfit, as well as The Trail Driver and 30,000 on the Hoof.

2. Louis L'amour. His Sackett series, particularly the first three in the series. Sackett's Land is a textbook on how to keep the action moving at a breakneck pace.

3. Robert B. Parker. His Appaloosa series taught me a lot about show, don't tell, though the prolific use of 'Said' in his dialogue can drive someone up the nut-tree.

4. Abel Shott. You can't beat Solo Strant.

5. Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove series. This is a powerful set of books. It must be, because NOTHING good ever happens to the characters, and yet, I could not put these stories down. I had to know what was going to happen next.


  1. I haven't read any of these! Is it horrible that I can't really remember what books I was into as a younger gal?

  2. Zane Grey is fun. I'm reading his Valley of Wild Horses. The main character's name is Panhandle Smith. I downloaded a bunch of his books free for the iBook, but I bet they are free on the Nook, too.

  3. I've read none of those! In fact, the ONLY western I've ever read was yours!! But I loved it, so maybe I'll branch out! :)

    My favorite books as a kid was, Sweet Valley High series, Nancy Drew mysteries, and the Narnia books. :)

  4. CJ, Panhandle Smith makes and appearance in The Trail Driver. :)

    Katie, browse a used bookstore. You might find some old friends lurking on the shelves. :D

    Jessica, I'm glad you enjoyed my western :D I am enough older than you to have missed the Sweet Valley High series. Sigh. Maybe in my second childhood. :D

  5. Zane Grey and Louis L'amour were staples in my childhood. Along with Grace Livingston Hill, Emilie Loring, and Victoria Holt. I never saw a Beverly Cleary or Dr. Seuss or any of those books most kids read. I was weaned on Frances H. Burnett, Betty Cavanaugh, Nancy Drew, The Power Boys, Robin Kane, Kim Aldrich...Danny Orliss! Anyone else read him? How about Meg Duncan Mysteries? Wow...trip down memory lane here. Sigh. I love books. :-)

  6. Not familiar with any of those except Lonesome Dove. The movie was a cornerstone of my childhood as it was my dad's favorite! We watched it all the time. Very character shaping. "You ride with an outlaw, you die with an outlaw". :)

  7. I never read Westerns growing up, but reading your list was a treat: ALL of those authors can be found on my father's bookshelf (I think)--though mostly it's Louis L'Amour. Might have to dive into that shelf when I visit home next...

  8. Okay, Erica, I love western romances so I'm tempted to read more westerns in general. I did read many of the 50 states series growing up, you know the one I'm talking about? But I've long wanted to read Lonesome Dove and never made the time to.

    Note taken on it not being a "happy" book, but sometimes I like that!