THE HAM REPORTER
By Robert J. Randisi
Double Day Western
When picking up this volume, we noted the sub-titles being
“A Novel of Bat Masterson in Twentieth-Century New York.” Randisi sets his
creative imagination post Wild West life and career of the legendary lawman who
at one time fought alongside other larger then life figures such as Wyatt Earp
and Wild Bill Hickock. Seeing the frontier succumbing to civilization,
Masterson and his wife Emma migrated to the booming metropolis on the Hudson, New York
City. There the one time law-dog became a popular sports writer and eventual
As the tale opens, one of Masterson’s colleagues and fellow
drinking mates, Inkspot Jones, a sports writer, suddenly goes missing. Attempts
to involve his police detective friend, Charles Becker, prove fruitless. It is
assumed the writer is simply on some kind of drinking jaunt from which he’ll
eventually resurface. Tragically it is the fellow’s corpse that floats to
surface thus morphing the missing person case is one of cold blooded murder.
Having no faith in police’s ability to solve the crime, Masterson takes it upon
himself to find the killer and provide Jones’ widow with some kind of justice.
Aiding him in the hunt is popular paper columnist, Damon
Runyon. As the duo of amateur detectives begin to gather information on Jones’
last days, it soon becomes evident that the dead man had crossed paths with one
of the Big Apple’s several crime lords. And in doing has suffered the
consequences. Soon Masterson discovers the back alleys of the big city are just
as dangerous as the streets of Doge City and Tombstone.
“The Ham Reporter” is a brilliant work of historical fiction wonderfully put forth by a craftsman. Randisi’s prose is fun and he spins his tall tale with vigor and affection guiding the reader to a fitting, gun blasting climax. Our copy was picked up at a used book store. Here’s hoping you can find your own. It is truly worth looking for.