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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wear a Fast Gun (audiobook) by John Jakes

Published in 1995 by Sunset Productions
Performed by John Dhyani
Running time: about 3 hours.

Note: I assume that this book was abridged. It's original length in paperback was 182 pages and 3 hours would not normally cover that many pages.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s John Jakes ruled the paperback historical fiction market with series like North and South trilogy and his Kent Family Chronicles. Wear a Fast Gun was written in 1956 and is a pretty typical western. A new sheriff named Reb Fallon has come to the town of Longhorn. Longhorn is a dangerous place and Reb Fallon is a hard man so it seem to be a perfect fit.

Fallon sets out right away to confront the random violence associated with the saloons and also with a gang of cattle rustlers that hide behind hoods. Along the way he makes a lot of enemies, a few friends and encounters a possible love interest.

The story itself is neither bad nor good - like I said before, it is a pretty typical western. But, the reader is another story altogether. Almost all of his voices sound like they are stereotypes of characters who should appear in a Western. The voice work sounds like it would be better suited for a humorous car dealer radio ad or a cartoon than for an audiobook. Every character is over the top. There is the old miner guy, the rich swaggering rancher, the little guy who is game for anything and then there's the matter of the bad falsetto for every female character. Throw in Western style transition music that was not matched to the scenes they were transitioning to and from (imagine a dramatic death scene followed by upbeat hoe down fiddle playing and you get the idea) and it was so bad it was almost funny.

Anyway, the so-so story and the bad reading make for a rating fo 2 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on October 21, 2012.

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