Monday, May 7, 2018

"The Broken Gun" by Louis L'Amour

Friends are awesome.  Eva S. from Coffee, Classics, and Craziness has a brother who loves Louis L'Amour books.  He knows, from her, that I'm a fan of Alan Ladd (if you understand "fan" to mean "fanatic"), so he told Eva to tell me about this book.  Because L'Amour dedicated it to Alan Ladd and Ladd's best friend William Bendix.  It was published a couple years after they both died, and I really felt while reading that I could see and hear Alan Ladd as the main character.  (Bendix was a little harder to pinpoint, mostly because I haven't studied him like I have Ladd.  He actually would have worked well in multiple roles here.)

I know that when Alan Ladd starred in Guns of the Timberland (1960), which was based on one of L'Amour's books, the two of them became friends.  Ladd owned a ranch, so I assume they found some common ground based on that, if nothing else.  The official Louis L'Amour website has a very nice autographed picture that Ladd gave L'Amour, which you can see here.  On it, he wrote: "To Louis -- Write another one --I am with you -- Alan."  I think that, in a way, L'Amour honored that request by writing this book dedicated to Ladd.

All that made reading this book a very poignant experience, but it's such a thrilling book that I didn't have a lot of time for pensively staring into the middle distance every few pages the way I might have otherwise.  The Broken Gun is unlike any other L'Amour book I've ever read in one major way:  it's set in the middle of the 20th century.  In fact, it takes place in the late '60s, when it was written and published.  And it almost feels like a hardboiled mystery, the kind that inspired the noir movies Alan Ladd rose to fame with.

Famous author Dan Sheridan visits a little town in Arizona, researching a couple of ranchers who drove a herd there almost a hundred years earlier and then disappeared.  When a man is murdered right outside his hotel room, Sheridan begins suspecting that the long-lost disappearance may have modern repercussions.  He gets invited out to a big ranch nearby for what he thinks is a friendly visit, but he quickly discovers that only his wits and an old Army friend stand between him and terrible danger.


(From my bookstagramming adventures.)

Particularly Good Bits:

The past was fresh in my mind because I had worked with it so much, and had been living it through all my books, and all the painstaking research that went into their writing (p. 17).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG for mild swearing, suspense, and some violence.



This is my 9th book read and reviewed for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2018.

13 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Erudessa, nifty that you read it recently too! And liked it :-)

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  2. I read 'The Broken Gun' over a few days and it was quite a unique book for L'Amour to write. (Though I believe he's written several short stories that feature detectives and that are set in the 50's and 60's). Wasn't one of my top favorites of his, but I did enjoy it. And I'm glad you liked it so much!

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    1. Eva, I probably wouldn't have liked it as well if I hadn't had Alan in my head purring every word. But I'm confident I still would have liked it. I don't think I've read any of L'Amour's short stories! Huh.

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  3. Replies
    1. Skye, it kept me entertained, for sure :-)

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  4. The book club I'm doing this year has L'Amour's 'The Walking Drum' coming up soon. I've never read any of his books before so am interested in checking him out.

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    1. Carol, that's cool! I haven't read The Walking Drum yet, but I do enjoy L'Amour's books overall.

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  5. Now I'm going to have to read that one!

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  6. In fact - I found it at the used bookstore today, and have started it.

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    1. Stanley, how fun! I'll be interested to hear if you also heard Alan Ladd in the main role and thought it felt rather noir-ish.

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    2. I agree. It did have a noir-ish feel, at least at times. While I could hear Alan Ladd's voice early and mid book, by the time I had reached the last quarter, I was hearing Humphrey Bogart. I may mention something about it on my blog.

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    3. Yeah, I could see Bogart in the role too. He would work nicely.

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