Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Apache Rising -- Marvin H. Albert

Marvin H. Albert was one of those writers who could do it all and do it well, under various names: westerns, hardboiled crime fiction, mafia tales, private-eye novels, movie tie-ins, and blockbuster bestsellers. I've enjoyed everything of his I've read, and Apache Rising is no exception, even if it does depend a lot on a coincidence the size of Rhode Island, and even if it does use one of the biggest cliches in western fiction.

Jess Remsberg is out for revenge on the man who raped, killed, and scalped his Indian wife. Ellie Graff, once captive of the Apaches, is trying to steal back the son that was born to her while she was in captivity. Lieutenant Scotty McAlister is trying to get a few wagons to Fort Duell and to defeat a band of Apaches under the leadership of a war chief named Chata. There's lots of action, much of it very graphic. The brutal desert heat and landscape play a big part, too, but believe it or not, this is a character-driven story. It packs a few surprises along the way, too.

I've enjoyed a lot of Albert's novels over the years, but this was the first of his westerns that I've read. Well, I take that back. I've read his Al Conroy westerns in the Man in Black series. Now I need to read more of the ones under his own name, because Apache Rising was really good. It was filmed as Duel at Diablo, by the way.

Richard Prosch mentioned this link in a comment, and I should have included it earlier. Thanks, Richard.

7 comments:

Ed Gorman said...

Yeah he had a hell of a run in the sixties turning his books into movies. Big movies. Garner, Sinatra, Poitier. He was revered in France. I happened to run across something about him recently. The French gave him several major awards and considered him a serious figure in the field of crime fiction.

Bill Crider said...

He lived in the south of France and was married to an artist. I think he did very well for himself, indeed.

Richard Prosch said...

Bill, Followed a few links and discovered your GOLD MEDAL CORNER article about Albert. Thanks for the run down!

Bill Crider said...

I should have linked to that, myself.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I've seen Duel at Diablo several times. Great flick.

scott cupp said...

I particularly like the musical soundtrack to Duel At Diablo which is sort of a jazzy score by Neil Hefti, most noted for the Batman TV theme.

Richard Heft said...

Many of the Gold Medal westerns use the Apaches as an all-purpose deus ex machina -- or maybe I should call it a a demon ex machina. Whenever a GM writer needed to wrap it up in ten pages, he had the Apaches attack and kill off every damn character except the Hero, the Villain and the Girl -- then the Indians ride off whooping in a cloud of dust. Guess what happens next?