BENEDICT & BRAZOS
# 1 Aces Wild
By E. Jefferson Clay
Bold Venture Press
Wheelahan was born in 1930 in Bombala,
New South Wales Australia
the son of a mounted policeman. He grew up in the Great Depression and in 1947
moved Sydney, to
work for his idol, comic creator Stan Pitt. At first Pitt employed him as an
inker and eventually Wheelahan moved to doing covers. Ultimately he would write
and produce short fillers for American outfits such as Sheena, Queen of the
Jungle and his own creations like the sci-fi hero Space Hawk.
When original Australian
comics work dried out in 1963, Wheelahan turned to writing western novels
writing more than 500 novels under various pseudonyms to include the Benedict
& Brazos series as E. Jefferson Clay. These fast paced, action heavy books
follow the adventures of two colorful Civil War veterans.
Nearing the end of
the war, Confederate Sgt. Hank Brazos and his unit are ordered to guard a
shipment of gold valued at over $200,000 dollars and transport it to New Mexico and Gen.
Nathan Bedford Forest so that he may use it to fund a second Confederacy. As
luck would have it, Brazos’ company encounters
a Yankee patrol led by Captain Duke Benedict and a bloody battle ensues in
which most of the combatants are slain. At which point a third force arrives on
the scene led by mercenary outlaw raider, Bo Rangle. Forced to join forces,
Benedict and Brazos, put up a valiant effort
but in the end Rangle and his men succeed and ride off with the loot. Benedict
and Brazos shake hands and go their separate
ways believing they will never see each other again.
Less than a year
after Appomattox, the two cross paths in the sleepy little Kansas
town of Daybreak.
Things are hopping in Daybreak, what with a new two story brick bordello going
up much to the chagrin of the local Christian Ladies Auxiliary and a trio of
outlaws has begun operating in the nearby valley. Before long, and after a few
knuckle busting dust-ups and shoot-outs, Brazos
begins to suspect Benedict has stumbled on to a clue as to the whereabouts of
Bo Rangle and the missing gold shipment. To that end, he makes it a point of
becoming the Yank’s shadow, having his own personal interest in recovering the
Like most non-American writers of pulp westerns, Wheelahan’s prose is purple as a summer twilight, rife with twangy cowboy slang, larger than life characters bordering on the cartoonish and yet still managing to deliver solid adult action. The pacing is as fast as a longhorn stampede from first page to last. Now this rip-roaring series is available to American pulp fans via Piccadilly Publishing’s association with Bold Venture, for which we can only say, “Thanks, Pilgrim.”