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Diamondback: Shroud of Vengeance

Pick a Saturday afternoon, any Saturday afternoon, and grab your favorite beverage and perhaps a good cigar. Settle in for a couple of hours and enjoy “Diamondback: Shroud of Vengeance.” This is an adult Western, the 1970s and 1980s version of a pulp Western, and it’s just plain good old-fashioned fun. It’s the type of book that ends a chapter with an “!”.

Cord Diamondback — the classic Western cliché good guy, with just the right amount of a dark edge to him — is fast with his fists, fast with his gun and fast with women. He’s been called to New Mexico’s Blood River County, where it is hoped that his physical talents, along with his knowledge of the law (he attended Harvard Law), can save the miners, the mines, Judge Morgan, and of course, the lives of more than one beautiful, smart and willing young woman. Is the mine actually worth a fortune, or is it quickly going dry? Will the miners survive a winter without food and shelter, or even survive the Apache attacks long enough to make it to winter? Will Cord live through the murder charges and the lynch mob? Will he survive a deadly Apache gauntlet, the gun runner Jemel Sullivan and the classically evil mine owner Odin Lassen?

A note on the “adult” part of adult Western…

“Diamondback: Shroud of Vengeance” was Paul Bishop’s first break, his first novel. As an “adult” Western, the publishers required, as all publishers of adult Westerns did at the time, at least two graphic sex scenes. While Paul was uncomfortable writing them, and hasn’t done it since, he considered the opportunity too important to pass up, so write them he did.

“Diamondback: Shroud of Vengeance” is the sixth in a series of nine Cord Diamondback books written under the house name Pike Bishop. I’m looking forward to reading the other eight.

Paul Bishop is a friend of mine (full disclosure, we have co-authored a number of nonfiction Western books) and one of many who has written under the Pike Bishop name — the same last names are purely a coincidence.

Paul has published 15 novels, with quite a few more in progress. As a 35-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, including more than 25 years in sex crimes investigation and twice being named LAPD’s Detective of the Year, Paul’s expertise has naturally led him to write about crimes and, more specifically, interrogation, which was his specialty. One of my favorite books he’s written is “Lie Catchers,” the first in what will hopefully be a long series featuring a couple of distinguished LAPD interrogators: Ray Pagan and Calamity Jane Randall.

Paul lives in Southern California, happily married to his high school sweetheart, and when he’s not writing or teaching interrogation classes to police departments around the country, he willingly and happily shares his expertise with young writers.

 

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