Monday, 28 June 2010


The average Black Horse Western runs between 130,000 and 145,000 words and Chuck Tyrell is one of those writers who do not waste a single word.
Whether Chuck Tyrell is writing about character, location or objects it is done in a seemless way that it is like a painting taking shape. Word pictures.
The centre of this story is Nat Dylan who is on the vengeance trail.
On minute fifteen year old Nat is having a crush on the 19 year old schoolmistress, Rebecca Shoemeister, - the next he is struggling with the news that his three older brothers have been killed by a man named Jared Carter. Picking up his brother's Remington he vows to see Carter dead.
Five years on and Dylan and Carter find themselves in the same place at the same time which means that things have to come to a conclusion.
There are a fistful of threads to this story that carries it above the usual revenge tale. Nat Dylan grows in stature and character as the story builds towards the conclusion. Then there is the question of honour and, as the reader discovers, there is more than one kind of honour here.
'The Killing Trail' by Chuck Tyrell is a June release from Robert Hale Ltd's Black Horse Western range.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010


"We were looking for inspiration from movies like 'Dirty Harry' and the spaghetti westerns: in the case of 'RAT PACK' we got it with 'The Dirty Dozen'."
And there certainly are influences at work in these stories.
Robert Shaw from 'Battle Of The Bulge' with a touch of Red Grant is the inspiration for 'Hellman Of Hammer Force.'
A Clint Eastwood/James Coburn 'Cross Of Iron' character has to be behind Major Eazy.
'Battle' Comic ran from the early 70s to the 80s but I have no recollection of this so reading the extracts from the various series has certainly been an eye opener.
Movies, obviously, played a part towards the inspiration but the idea of comic featuring stories that had Germans as heroes or anti-heroes must have some links to the books of the likes of Sven Hassel.
One grouse - 'HOLD HILL 109' ran for six weeks, according to the intro so I feel a little cheated that the book gives just four of the episodes.
Still I enjoyed the rest of this compilation from Titan Books that featured the likes of 'D-Day Dawson', 'Johnny Red', 'Charley's War' amongst the 18 featured stories.
'Darkie's Mob' and 'Johnny Red' have been issued in all new reprint editions with 'Rat Pack' and 'Major Eazy'. Also, in 6 volumes has been the complete reprint of 'Charley's War'.
There were some articles on 'Charley's War' at

Sunday, 20 June 2010


They are ranked about 78th in the world - but today New Zealand held Italy to a 1-1 draw.
This has to be one of the memorable matches to date.
New Zealand was one of those teams that expected nothing from their World Cup appearance but it goes to show that with imagination a team can acheive anything.
Now go beat Paraguay - go Kiwis.

Saturday, 19 June 2010


Oh! What a circus - oh! what a show.
Wayne Rooney blaming the fans and the pundits along with the media blame the manager.
Truth is come the day there are eleven English players on the pitch and the onus to play to win is on them and no one else.
They play like a bunch of old men - but then they are. For some this is their third or fourth World Cup when really the team that is on the field should be young and fired with enthusiasm. A team that has the ability to face all comers on an equal footing.
There seems no point in the current team turning up to face Slovenia.
The way I see it even if England were to win it would only prolong the agony as there is a good chance that they will face a German team that will send England home.
It is time to shelve the likes of Terry, Gerrard, Lampard and Rooney - a team does not consist of 'I's. And headlines that claim that it is Rooney's World Cup do not help - if anything it is should read England's World Cup.
Until England has a team that has pride in itself England will not get their hands on either the European or World Cups.
There are teams in this World Cup who are going to go out in these early rounds. Some of them are facing teams that are way above their league but they are fighting for every inch of ground.
Algeria were that good that they looked as though they would have ended England's misery.
So in the aftermath what really worries England - ah! yes - security. A fan managed to breach security to tell England just what he thought of them. The message I'm getting from that is that the fans mean nothing and that we should not criticise the England team.
Yeah, well - where's the nearest recycling bin?

And what is it about Australia?
Play Germany and they get a man red carded.
Play Ghana and guess what - yep, another red card and down to 10 men.
Should they bother to field a full team against Serbia?
Or is this some kind of conspiracy by England who, should they top their group, would play Australia had they come second in their group.

Friday, 18 June 2010


17th June 2010 - Jon Monk who was killed in Afghanistan returned home along with Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze who had also died as a result of a roadside bomb.
They landed at R.A.F. Lyneham, Wiltshire where a short ceremony took place for the families.
Later the cortege passed through Wootton Bassett where family and friends lined the route. The coffins were en route to John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford for the final official post mortem.
ITV covered the return on their programme 'London Tonight' where friends Richard Hammond, Ben Satchell and Jack Foster paid tribute to Jon.
It is expected that Jon's funeral will take place in approximately two weeks time at Croydon Crematorium.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


Anyone who saw the front page of today's Daily Mail should have been disgusted.
In the wake of the Bloody Sunday report the headline screamed about 'the face of the British soldier'. Pictured were two soldiers who had been killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. So, they served in Northern Ireland - what, then, was the Daily Mail implying?
Both the pictured soldiers had not been a part of 'Bloody Sunday' - they had not even been born.
It begs the question just what kind of point the Daily Mail was trying to make?
And as I knew one of the soldiers I know that the reporter on this story tried to get the parents to make comments about 'Bloody Sunday'. They wouldn't - they couldn't do that. It had nothing to do with the death of their son.
I think that the Daily Mail owes an apology to all the relatives of those who lost their lives in Afghanistan. The innuendo contained in your article seems to just cheapen the sacrifice that our soldiers make.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


At 10 am this morning one of the people in this photo died fighting the war in Afghanistan.

Jon Monk and my son, Jack, were inseparable from the word go. A pair of jokers who did everything together. School, working as fishmongers, Army Cadets - they did it all. The best of friends who were going to join the Army together.
Except that Jack got married and Jon went into the Army. He served for his allotted time and was posted to Northern Ireland and then to the Iraq conflict.
Life in civvy street did not enthuse Jon and he re-enlisted in the army and was sent out to Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
Last night Jack and Jon were conversing on Facebook and making arrangements for a night out at the end of this month - but the Taliban made sure that will not happen.
Rest In Peace - Jon. You will be missed.
And we send all our love, sympathy and condolences to Jon's family.

Jon is on the left or the front - and that is the way we will remember him.

Further reading regarding Jon's death can be found at