WITH THESE HANDS
The fourth and final posthumous Bantam collection of L'Amour's short stories comprises 11 adventures written in the 1940s and 1950s that call to mind pulp magazines, as tough men and curvy women trade snappy banter against a backdrop of mayhem and testosterone. Cowboys, boxers, detectives, pilots, sea captains and damsels in distress are L'Amour's heroes here, and no corny cliché is left untried. Still, these stories pack a solid punch of action, color and grim violence, in settings from Hollywood to the South Seas and Japan. Only one is a western, with rustlers and romance turning the head of a young cowboy, while three feature young, idealistic prizefighters pounding on bad guys. L'Amour was a clever mystery writer, too, with a talent for clues and suspense. In "Corpse on the Carpet," a Good Samaritan saves a kid from a mugging only to find himself in the middle of kidnapping, robbery and murder. In "Police Band," a bored and curious bystander and a sharp police detective team up unexpectedly to solve a series of crimes. Long-time L'Amour character Turk Madden appears in two stories, one of which is an action-packed wartime spy drama set in Japan. Sea captain Ponga Jim Mayo, another L'Amour favorite, steers a tramp steamer through submarine-infested waters with a hot cargo and a nest of enemy spies aboard in "Voyage to Tobalai." Best is the title story, a gritty and haunting account of an oil company executive's desperate struggle to survive in the Arctic wilderness after a plane crash. All of L'Amour's characters are fast with their fists, guns, mouths and wits, defending honor and battling greed and evil. There may not be much sophistication in this volume, but it's classic L'Amour entertainment. (May)
Forecast:There are over 260 million copies of L'Amour's books in print. With These Hands, which is as archetypal L'Amour as the first three books in this Bantam series, should appeal to all his devoted fans.
Release date: 04/01/2002