May 272016
 

The Hunted Audiobook

My 2013 novel, THE HUNTED, just came out as an audiobook, and the sample I’ve heard sounds mighty fine—and the cover’s a corker, too. Here’s a link in case you’re tempted to give it a listen: http://www.amazon.com/The-Hunted/dp/B01CUWHXAA/

Big Charlie Chilton knows better than to lose his temper, but when a loudmouth threatens to expose his long-buried secrets, he can’t help but teach the man a lesson about being quiet. Unfortunately, it turns out the man was about to make an important supply run for the town, and Marshal Watt knows just enough about Shotgun Charlie’s past to draft him into service in his stead.

The trek north would be treacherous enough with the snow and the threat of an Indian attack, but the ragtag drunkards running the freighting outfit put Charlie ill-at-ease. When bad blood springs up between them, Charlie is left for dead on the side of the mountain. But they should have made sure he was really gone–because the wounded bear of a man isn’t down for the count, and he’s ready to bring vengeance on those who did him wrong…

I had so much fun with Big Charlie Chilton that I brought him back a couple of years later in SHOTGUN CHARLIE (a prequel to THE HUNTED). It came out in 2015 and explains how Big Charlie gained his ill-fitting moniker. Here’s a link: http://www.amazon.com/Ralph-Compton-Shotgun-Charlie-Western/dp/0451472381/

Feb 022016
 

Hornswogglers, Fourflushers and Snake-Oil SalesmenA fine review by Erin H. Turner in the Winter 2015 issue of Big Sky Journal of my recent non-fiction book, HORNSWOGGLERS, FOURFLUSHERS & SNAKE-OIL SALESMEN: True Tales of the Old West’s Sleaziest Swindlers….

 

HORNSWOGGLERS, FOURFLUSHERS & SNAKE-OIL SALESMEN: True Tales of the Old West’s Sleaziest Swindlers by Matthew P. Mayo (TwoDot, $18.95) spins 22 yarns about the bandits, conmen, conwomen and bunko artists who populated the West, drawn by the chance to make their fortunes by taking advantage of those who responded to the siren calls of gold and free land.

Mayo proves the adage that everyone loves a heel, making sympathetic characters out of the most disreputable reprobates, putting them in a historical framework with an accessible, lively story-telling style. More than that, however, he puts them in context with each other and poses questions about what makes a villain a villain.

How much does Ned Buntline’s sketchy personal history and questionable veracity affect the fact that his dime novels shaped much of the mythology of the West? Why do we feel twinges of sympathy for con artists like Doc Baggs, who preyed on the greed of his wealthy marks?

Mayo’s novelistic approach reaches for truth about these characters and their victims. He’s succeeded in producing an entertaining and enjoyable read that also adds to our understanding and appreciation of the Wild West.

Jan 042016
 

Cowboys, Mountain Men, and Grizzly Bears cover

I’m looking forward to seeing the new flick, THE REVENANT, about explorer and mountain man Hugh Glass, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. From all indications it sounds like a winner. Heck, any movie with a whiff of mountain man action in it gets a thumbs-up in my book.

This one has special meaning for me as I’ve researched and written about Hugh Glass extensively. My 2009 non-fiction book, COWBOYS, MOUNTAIN MEN & GRIZZLY BEARS, contains a detailed chapter about Glass’s incredible saga.

Even my book’s cover illustration is a depiction of Hugh’s brutal struggle with the grizzly that nearly did him in! In fact, it’s the same illustration used on the cover of the 2015 novel, THE REVENANT, a fictionalized version of Glass’s saga on which the film is based. (Must be a way to make hay with that particular bit of coincidence, eh? Hmm, maybe I should give Leo a call.)

Hugh Glass Monument, Perkins County, South Dakota

Hugh Glass Monument, Perkins County, South Dakota. Photograph by Jennifer Smith-Mayo.

My wife, Jennifer, and I visited the site of Glass’s 1823 attack by grizzly, overlooking the Grand River in present-day Lemmon, Perkins County, South Dakota. The pretty spot is well off paved roads and offers long views of the surrounding rolling countryside. A marker to Hugh Glass tells of his mauling, subsequent incredible journey back from the brink of death, and his quest for revenge. It’s worth visiting, should you find yourself out that way. And keep an eye peeled for grizzlies….