Friday, May 4, 2018

Jim Steel #01 - Gold Wagon

Writing as Jess Cody, Chet Cunningham's series debut, "Gold Wagon" (1972) has Jim Steel searching the back trails of Arizona for a disguised Army wagon loaded with a fortune in gold. This first novel in the series isn’t a bad book at all, but it isn’t nearly as good as the third book, "Bloody Gold", so I was still a bit disappointed. The plot is a little skimpy, so Cunningham throws in a lot of red herrings and sends Steel scurrying hither and yon to pad out the length. The first and final few chapters are quite strong, though, and the book always held my interest. While it isn’t an “adult western” in the steamy tradition of 'Longarm' and friends, it’s still got a modern flavor, with a reasonably likable anti-hero who spends the entire novel doing his best to steal a lot of gold from the government. It’s worth reading again, but there are plenty of better books out there.