Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Court Day by Luke Short

“I just saw Comer,” Marty announced, his eyes hot, his voice contained. “He’s givin’ us till sundown to clear out of town.”

Nobody spoke for a minute. Ernie found them watching him, but he kept silent. There are times you can advise men, and times you can’t.

Luke Short wrote many a fine formulary Western. They are often Noir-ish in tone, but he always strived for that bit more than assembly-line feel. He was a great admirer of Ernest Haycox and wanted to infuse his stories with something a bit more, to render them beyond just disposable western fodder.

This story is the only Short tale that made the Top 100 Western Short Story list, but I must confess the brevity emphasizes Short’s formulary elements over his ability with tone and shading of events. 

It is not a bad tale, but comparing the author to himself, he has produced far better work.

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