Friday, January 04, 2019

Klaw: Fieldhouse

Klaw, by W. L. Fieldhouse: Tower Books, 1980, 208 pages. 

I've known about this series for a while but had not read any. This is the first book in the series and seems pretty much an origin story. It's no secret, if you see the covers, that it features a gunfighter who has lost his hand and has a "claw" attachment for that arm. What might not be clear is that other things can be attached to the prosthesis as well, which allows him to shoot a gun and do other things. 

After starting this book, I had to check to make sure that W. L. Fieldhouse was not a pseudonym for Terry Harknett, who wrote the infamous "Edge" series under the name George G. Gilman. He's not, but it seems clear to me that the Klaw series was modeled after the Edge series. There's the same gory brutality to the shooting scenes, the frequent use of the phrase "feller," and even the same kind of wisecracking chapter endings that identify the Edge series. 

There are some differences, however. Klaw, originally identified as John Klawson, is a more sensitive fellow than Edge, at least throughout this first book. There's also some actual sex. Edge often has the opportunity to engage in sex but generally does not. In this book, Klaw actually develops a strong attraction to a woman and there is a fairly lengthy sex scene. Klaw is also driven by a higher moral code than Edge, who is primarily driven simply by the urge to survive. Klaw seeks justice. 

According to sources I could find, there are three books in the Klaw series. #2 is called "Town of Blood" and #3 is "The Rattler Gang." Fieldhouse has also written a number of other books, some under his own name, as well as for the Executioner and other men's adventure series. I couldn't find much more information on Fieldhouse, although he appears to still be living. I don't know how early this book was in his career.

As for the book itself, I was actually not enamored of the opening section. There seemed to be a lot of exposition and summarizing, and the constraints of setting up the "origin" piece for the character. However, the story quickly took off and became an enjoyable, action oriented romp. The character is more engaging than Edge and much easier to root for. Overall, I thought it was quite a lot of fun. And I know that all three Klaw books are available from Rough Edges Press: The books are also available on Amazon 

4 comments:

sage said...

It does sound as if there would need to be some back story to develop the character, such as how he lost his hand. Interesting review.

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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Makes you wonder if there isn't some connection. Or maybe it was the similarity of the writing at the time.

Unknown said...

Sage, there's definitely plenty of that, but maybe too much.

Alex, the similarities are too strong for there not to be some kind of connect. Some editor may have told the writer to "write like the edge books"

Shadow said...

Wasn't there a movie too in similar tone I seem to thinK?