“Devil’s Manhunt”
By L. Ron Hubbard
Multicast Performance
Produced by Galaxy Audio
Approx 2 hours

It’s time once again to go back to those thrilling times of yesteryear…okay so that was the opening for “The Lone Ranger” TV series, but listening to this audiobook reminded me of the series I used to watch as a kid.  I also realized that hey, I actually do like reading/listening to westerns, but only good westerns.  It seems L. Ron Hubbard wrote some pretty cool westerns.  With Galaxy Press and Galaxy Audio re-releasing the old pulp fiction stories from the mid-20th century that Hubbard penned, or rather typed ( I read somewhere he could carry on a conversation and type out a short story at the same time), I can now go back and enjoy those stories I’ve missed or denied myself due to not thinking I like westerns.

Maybe it’s just that these productions from Galaxy Audio keep me glued to the audiobook.  Galaxy Audio provides the complete theater of the mind experience in every one of these releases. This audio book is no exception.  When the horses ride off they actually ride off not just some one slapping coconuts together.  These guys have no need of the Wilhelm Scream in their vocal sound effects, because each of the voice actors are top notch and every grunt and scream occur in the moment and fit the story perfectly.  The original music also pulls you into the story and with these stories, the music had that authentic western feel.

This release features three stories not only all falling into the western genre but all having the same theme of being hunted down.  The fun part in all of Hubbard’s stories is that they end with a bit of a twist that is nearly hard to see coming.  After hearing several of these stories I’ve discovered I can almost predict the twist to come….almost.

“Devil’s Manhunt,” originally published February, 1950 tells the story of Young Tim Beckdolt who had been working in Arizona for eight long, treacherous months before striking a rich seam of gold.  Now, after three months of hard, grueling labor, he’s stockpiled that gold ore.  Just as he’s about to set out and sell all the gold a Swedish giant named Sven and the foppish Virginian killer named Bonnet, arrive to jump his claim. Forced by gunpoint to mine the remainder of the gold for this villainous pair.  Sven and Bonnet hunt game each night to keep them all nourished, but one night Bonnet chances across a bear and finds that game to be a challenge.  Bonnet then realizes he loves the hunt and wonders what the best game to hunt would be.  Bonnet and Sven then decide to hunt Tim, after all they were going to kill him anyway, might as well make a sport of it.

“Johnny, the Town Tamer,” originally published August, 1949 is a fun story in which Texas Johnny frustrates an attempt to kill him, and runs off the man who tried to do it.   Johnny comes into a town that is crooked all the way up to the town manager.  They all see Johnny has some gold dust and a herd of cattle that will soon be coming through town and see the opportunity to get rich.  Johny and a mysterious partner outwit the entire town, but the fun…is how they do it.

“Stranger in Town,” originally published December,1949 introduces the reader/listener to Zeke Tomlin, who may be a little paranoid, but he has good reason.  New in Dry Creek himself, Zeke  knows someone will ride in one day, looking for him. Because in his past he was blamed for murder by a corrupt marshal, and has been hiding out ever since.  When the corrupt marshal arrives in pursuit, Zeke must deal with him and the town.

Strap on your spurs and get a shot of some red-eye and enjoy these stories from the Golden Age.

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