Tuesday, December 05, 2017


A Hollywood Cowboy Detectives Mystery
By Darryle Purcell
A Buckskins Edition Western

If you are a devoted movie buff who knows William Pratt was Boris Karloff’s real name and Bela Lugois was originally Bela Blasko then you most likely will know in which Republic Serial Reed Hadley starred? Now if you are nodding your head with a giant smile on your face, then dear readers, you are absolutely going to love this book by Darryle Purcell. It is the 11th in his Hollywood Cowboy Detectives series and just unabashed fun from the first page to the last. Purcell knows his Hollywood history and weaves it through out his story via his three heroes; Sean “Curly” Woods, Nick Danby and Hoot Gibson. 

Curly, our narrator is a PR writer for Republic Studios specializing in their B-westerns while Nick is a studio chauffeur working for his older brother Nick Danby, a studio big-wig. And lastly there is silent western star Hoot Gibson, trying to keep his career going in the age of the “talkies.”  Whenever something strange or bizarre happens in the tightly knit film community, Nick calls on Curly and his pals to investigate. In this book, someone is trying to sabotage a newly reformed Monogram Pictures by causing accidents on the set. One invariably results in the death of a stage hand.

The three compadres begin their investigations and hook up with Karloff in the middle of doing a Mr. Wong short for the small studio. The dynamic actor offers to help and soon thereafter they find themselves protecting Bela Lugosi as clues indicate both actors are primary targets of the saboteurs. 

Honestly we could go on and on but that would be spoiling the fun. That Purcell has a genuine love for old classic movies is obvious. The adventure is fast paced, filled with equal amounts action and slapstick humor. Enough so, we wish someone would option this book and film it.  And as if that wasn’t enough goodness, this volume contains a bonus short which features both Ken Maynard and Lon Chaney Jr, who is apparently being haunted by the characters his dead father played in the movies.

Purcell also did the art illustrations in the book and the cover which is masterfully rendered. How much talent can one man have?  In the end, we are just sorry we hadn’t found this series a whole lot sooner.  If you love serials, historical monster movies and the pulps, we urge you to grab this one now. Trust me, once read, you’ll say you owe us one big time.


Phil Curran said...

I've just bought a copy on your recommendation.Hopefully I'll get to start it soon.

Anonymous said...

Sad to say, I know all the answers to those opening questions in the review, including that Reed Hadley starred as Zorro in a Republic serial(and hosted and narrated Racket Squad) A must book, indeed