RAY HOGAN – Guns Against the Sun. Avon T-453, paperback original, 1960. Macfadden, pb reprint, 1968.

RAY HOGAN - Guns Against the Sun

   Although I own (and have cataloged) somewhere over 65 paperback westerns written by Ray Hogan, this is the first one that I can remember reading, which on the basis of Guns Against the Sun is my error – certainly no one else’s.

   And I suspect that the total output of westerns written by Ray Hogan would easily top the one hundred mark – he was that prolific during his peak years of the 1960s and 70s. He had one series character that I recall, Shawn Starbuck, a young cowboy whose wanderings across the Old West led him into many adventures.

   Only 157 pages long, Guns Against the Sun is barely more than a long novella, and it can easily be read in a couple of hours. Plotwise it goes something like this: when a gang of bank robbers hits Marshal John Banning’s town, they not only make off with a small fortune in gold, but they also shoot and kill Banning’s teen-aged nephew, his only remaining kin.

   The posse of townfolks that Banning takes with him doesn’t last long. Forced to follow the trail into the desert alone, he comes across a wagon heading west driven by a woman whose ailing husband is of no help to her, either against the heat of the sun or the outlaws Banning are chasing.

   That about sums it up, a minor piece of work in many ways, but Hogan’s eye for character as well as the desert country, brutal in direct daylight but unaccountably beautiful in the night time, makes this particular western rather easy to recommend. Brief but to the point. Hogan knows his West, all right.