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Author: L. Ron Hubbard
Publisher: Galaxy Press
Publication Date: 02/21/2011
Synopsis from Goodreads: In the Arizona territory, every mountain hides a fortune—and every man fends for himself.
Tim Beckdolt is as American as the frontier itself, as rangy and self-reliant as a young Jimmy Stewart. But after spending eight treacherous months digging $175,000 in gold out of Desperation Peak—all he has left is desperation. Two sadistic strangers have taken his gold, and now they want to take his life. He’s on the run—the target of a Devil’s Manhunt.
In a time and a place where the only law is the law of survival, Beckdolt will have to live by his wits…or die by the bullet.
In 1932, Hubbard led a mining crew on a six-month West Indies Mineralogical Expedition in Puerto Rico—the first complete survey of the island since it had become an American territory. It was an experience that informs this title with remarkable realism.
Also includes two additional Western tales: Johnny, the Town Tamer, the story of a local swindler who meets his match, and Stranger in Town, in which a drifter confronts a corrupt sheriff…and his own dark past.
“A thrilling novel of greed, violence, survival and perseverance, Devil’s Manhunt perfectly embodies the unbridled excitement of pulp fiction.” —Midwest Book Review
*An International Book Awards Winner
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While it may seem strange to you, L. Ron Hubbard – best known it seems for books such as Dianetics and founding Scientology – wrote a veritable treasure trove of pulp fiction stories – westerns, mysteries, science fiction, even (one could say) horror if you feel that way about a few of his books/stories.
Recently I was given the opportunity to read and review a few of the books in the Stories from the Golden Age collection – this one is Devil’s Manhunt. This particular volume in the collection happens to contain three stories, an excerpt of another story that is featured in a different book in the collection, a glossary of terms that one might not be familiar with that are used in the stories, and a short article entitled L. Ron Hubbard and American Pulp Fiction.
The first story featured is the title story – Devil’s Manhunt. Also featured are westerns Johnny, The Town Tamer and Stranger in Town. As a reader of primarily modern fiction, with a few forays into the classics such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I can honestly say I was more than impressed by the stories presented in Devil’s Manhunt. For one thing, I don’t generally like westerns, yet I loved these. They had just the right hint of mystery and yes, dare I say it, horror. These rival some of Stephen King’s short stories with one exception – these stories could have actually happened at some point in time if you really think about it, which makes the creepy factor that much higher.
Devil’s Manhunt was the one story that was a tad on the farfetched side, but still believable if you don’t over-analyze the story. It (and the other two stories) are extremely well written and honestly, if I didn’t know that Devil’s Manhunt was originally published in Famous Westerns in 1950, I wouldn’t believe that the story was that old. It fits right in with modern story telling and modern writing.
If you have never thought to check out L. Ron Hubbard’s older works, you simply must give them a try. These may have come from the Golden Age, but they fit right in with today’s readers as well. You can get these books on Amazon.com or via Galaxy Press themselves.
I received a copy of this book free from Galaxy Press in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.