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Monday, October 26, 2020

WESTERN NOVELS—TEXAS HELLER

WESTERN NOVELS
TEXAS HELLER 
E. M. PARSONS 
There have been nearly a dozen vintage westerns recently republished by Cutting Edge Books. One of the best is Texas Heller by E. M. Parsons. 
 
It’s the story of Coy Quillen who comes back to Two Trees Texas after fighting on the side of the Union. The Texas town, and site of Coy’s old family ranch, the Kewpie (Q-P) is firmly in the grip of Union reconstruction and a weasely opportunistic named Matt Conroy. 
 
Via a government swindle, Matt owns the QP now, but worse, owns Coy’s woman Lydia Prinell. When Coy finds out the details about all this over a drink at the local bar, he’s throwing down and spitting’ blood—in that order—thanks to Conroy’s goon, Moriarity. The only thing Coy can do legally is appeal the land deal, first with local military boss Captain DuPuys, and when that doesn’t work—all the way up the pipe to General Sheridan. 
 
But such things take time, and Conroy’s not gonna give let him have it. The good news is that even though his own brother is against him, Coy still has a few palls, and Lydia’s heart never truly strayed (even if her body did). So there’s a satisfying wrap up, filled with action, and if you like traditional westerns you can’t go wrong here. Again, it’s on Kindle from Cutting Edge books. 
 
Of the western writers we’ve profiled on the blog, Parsons has—perhaps—the most unique backstory. Born in Pittsburgh in 1926, he was convicted of burglary and grand theft auto 23 years later. He served three years in Chino State Prison and was released—but was back behind bars by 1955 for passing 22 stolen checks. He served five years at San Quentin. 
 
While there, he back editor of the prison newspaper and sold his first novel under the pen name Phillip Race to Fawcett for a $3500 advance. He wrote two more novels and one western, Texas Heller. After his prison release he wrote for TV shows, including Cheyenne, The Dakotas, and Flipper.

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