Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Ray Hogan and the traditional western

  Ray Hogan was born in 1908 but he didn't publish his first western until 1956. Fortunately, he lived to be 90 years old and published many thrilling western yarns in his lifetime. I never considered him a great writer, but he never failed to deliver a fast paced, satisfying western. He was a craftsman and his books were constructed in a methodical building block manner. Each chapter was lean and spare. The story moved along at a natural progression. Each chapter built solidly into achieving a satisfying ending to the book.
  His heroes and bad guys were of traditional nature. Black and white. Good and bad. His heroes held values of truth, justice, integrity, honor and responsibility. These are values held in high esteem and seemed to have lost their luster in our current modern day society. It is refreshing to read these older works and relive the values of a simpler time.
  Ray Hogan's Shawn Starbuck series, which was originally a paperback original series, is currently being re released by Piccadilly Publishing: an outstanding endeavor to bring back western classics from the past. I will discuss more about this fine publisher in future posts.
Shawn Starbuck is a hero in the classic western mold. He is honest, noble, and his integrity is beyond reproach. He is the prime example of Ray Hogan's stalwart heroes. The books were short. The plots were straightforward and right won out against the bad guys. The stories were very much like the tv western in the 50's. A lone hero drifting from town to town, becoming involved in other people's problems, helping them out, bringing bad guys to justice in a tale that would have easily fitted in the TV hour long show, much like Cheyenne or Bronco. The difference was that instead of wandering aimlessly throughout the west, Starbuck has a purpose. He is looking for his long lost brother. This is a familiar vehicle for moving a story that has been used over and over as in The Guns of Will Sonnett, Desperado, and The Fugitive.
  It is good to see these books back in print. As i said, the Starbucks are being published by Piccadilly Publishing. Some of Ray Hogan's stand alone books are currently being published by Prologue Books. I will highlight this publisher in another post also.
  Hogan's other most notable series was about John Rye known as The Doomsday Marshal. There were only a few installments and were published in hard cover by Doubleday as their Double D Western series. These were short hardcover books of about 150 pages. Included in this series were authors such as Lewis B. Patten and Lauren Paine. I will discuss this series in another post.
  Hopefully these books will be issued again soon.

Thanks for riding the Trail
The Rangewriter


  1. New to your blog. Double D Westerns always delivered quality western entertainment. I read a lot of them some years ago checked out from local libraries. I read a lot of Hogan, Patten, etc.

  2. Good to know some of the old stories containing truth, integrity and honor are being supported. I'm getting tired of the apparent support, at least in the minds of publishers/producers for the "dark side."