Friday, March 22, 2024

WYATT & THE DUKE

 

WYATT & THE DUKE

By Patrick Cirillo

A Story Killer Publication

298 pgs

 

There’s a story around Hollywood that one day a reporter asked actor John Wayne about how he learned his “hero” way of walking that was distinctive in all his western movies. The Duke supposed replied, “I learned it from Wyatt Earp.” It is with such oft told vignettes that Hollywood veteran Patrick Cirillo weaves this particular story.

 

The facts are these. Marion Morrison, a former football star, dropped out of college and went to work as a stunt man for Republic Pictures. It is said he was hired by the first big cowboy start of the Silver Screen, Tom Mix and then subsequently met the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp. Earp at the time was well into his 70s and occasionally asked to consult on western themed pictures. As whether Duke, Morrison’s nickname, and Earp became more then just acquaintances is the stuff from which grandiose “what if” yarns are woven.

In Carillo’s scenario, Duke is recruited by a popular Hollywood director to start in a bio-pic of Wyatt Earp. Earp is then hired to tutor the na├»ve, greenhorn actor on how to portray him in the film. At first their relationship is anything but affable. The senior Earp sees the college dropout as a wet-behind-the-ears wannabe whose only assets are his rugged good looks and ready fists when it comes to fight. While Duke, constantly berated by Earp, begins to see his hero as nothing but a cantankerous old man devoid any genuine kindness.

When a beautiful Hollywood actress with whom Duke is romantically involved, dies of a drug overdose, he suspects foul play. Soon, with Earp’s help, they discover the supplier was a former lover scorned the lady’s rejection. They also learn he’s one of several brothers all working under the guidance of their criminal father. To take on this crooked, brutal clan, the two will have to put aside their differences and learn to work as a team…or die trying.

“Wyatt & The Duke” is one of the books that comes along all too rarely and is a pure delight. So much so, this reader found himself wondering how such a real adventure might have gone.

Wednesday, March 06, 2024

THROUGH THE WILD GATE

 

THROUGH THE WILD GATE

By Dale Cozort

Chisel & Stone Publishing

198 pgs

 

Science fiction writer Dale Cozort has a flair for writing alternate time-line adventures and cross-dimensional platforms. In this novel, he offers up a world where very rich men discovered strange gates that lead to an alternate Earth still existing in prehistoric times. They call it the Wild and it is populated by sabertooth tigers, giant bears, things called dire wolves and of course massive furry mastodons. Oh, and early humans barely above ape evolution called Magi inhabit this savage world.  

Now armed with both the knowledge and whereabouts of these “gates” these wealthy men form a Council of the richest families. Each family lays claim to a gate and proceeds to establish a compound on the other world in the Wild. Among these families is the Thornburgs led by patriarch Robert Thornburg who, in a reckless moment of fancy, fathers a daughter with a Magi servant girl. The resulting half-breed child is a girl he names Robinette. Then, despite the hue and cry of other members of the Council and his own children, twins Tom and Leah, Thornburg decided to keep Robinette and raise her here in our world. He soon learns she is not only massively strong, she also possesses a geniur I.Q. and quickly earns a college degree in physics. All the while Tom and Leah  would love nothing better than to have her disappear. 

Ultimately Robinette is drugged, kidnapped and dropped tied and bound in the Wild where she is expected to die. She does not. Rather she manages to survive and sneak back into our world via a gate and is discovered by former Private Investigator, Eric Carter, now employed by father in a security role. Carter has affections for Robinette and upon learning of what happened to her, puts his neck on the line by hiding her from the Council, and her own family. Their job, to solve the mystery of who is trying to sabotage the Thornburgs and steal their power position.

Cozort’s book is a fun read with lots of fascinating characters. None more so than Robinette and the world of the Gates. What lies through them is something to ponder. He almost makes it look attractive. If you like way-out sci-fi, look no further than “Through The Wild Gate.” It’s a hell of a ride.