Friday, July 24, 2020

Fort Starvation by Frank Gruber

Fedderson and Vickers exchanged glances. Vickers said, “He don’t scare me.”

Fedderson nodded thoughtfully, “He don’t seem scared either.”

This one is a bit of a puzzle for me. The novel shows up as a stellar achievement in the genre on at least two lists, one by Jon Lewis and the other from Jon Tuska. Both men with a deep knowledge of the Western and who’s tastes have steered me well more often than not but…this choice mystifies me.

We have a tale of vengeance, years long searches and confrontation—standard fare for many a fine Western but here the author seems practically bored with his own plot.

Entire battles are dispensed with in cast-off sentences, important interactions between characters are often told after the fact in a “They met and had words, now let’s move on” sense.

This is my first from Gruber, who was rather prolific, and I would love to think he has better offerings.

One of the rare occasions when I simply do not understand the appeal.

The Gruber fans out there are welcome to suggest the “best” title and I’ll make another go.

If no suggestions, I’ll steer clear and I suggest the same here. There are far better novels than this casually indifferent affair.

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