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Tuesday, June 22, 2010


A six-book Western series, all one thread running between them.

George G. Gilman was the creator of two grim, sardonic Western characters called EDGE and STEELE. Both series were unflinching in their violence, but were also written with a “wink”. In other words, gallows humor was used in most of these books either to shock you further or make you close your eyes and groan. Either way, it was Mr. Gilman’s way of letting you know that you should not take what you are reading too seriously.

EDGE and STEELE were successful both in England (Mr. Gilman is British) and here in America. THE UNDERTAKER was something of a departure for him. Featuring very little of the dark humor but every bit of the gritty violence of the other two series, THE UNDERTAKER was the tale of Barnaby Gold and his blood feud with the Channon boys.

The young Mrs. Gold, it is revealed, has had an affair with Barnaby’s father, Barnaby, Sr. The elder Barnaby then kills himself in shame.

Mrs. Gold is killed by one of the Channons in the first book. The rest of the books deal with young Barnaby’s wrath against the Channons.

In book six, DEATH IN THE DESERT, things come to a head and the series is wrapped up in a not-so-pretty bow.

To my knowledge, only the first book, BLACK AS DEATH, was published by Pinnacle Books in the States before they went out of business. Today, Pinnacle is back and revamped, but they deal mostly now in true crime, suspense, traditional Westerns and mainstream books.

George G. Gilman retired from the book business some years back but still has fans around the world and will occasionally write a new EDGE short story here and there.

THE UNDERTAKER was an interesting experiment for Mr. Gilman that, unfortunately, didn’t work out. At least we have the six books to still read and enjoy.

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