Thursday, March 3, 2016



Ignited by the success of Don Pendleton’s Executioner series, the 1970s saw an explosion of similar paperback original men’s adventure series. With names like The Penetrator, The Death Merchant, and The Marksman, these lurid offspring of the once wildly popular pulp magazines filled spinner racks in drugstores and supermarkets everywhere. The blood-splattered pages of these violent, action at all costs stories became a recognizable genre, sending shockwaves into other more staid genres, such as the western. 

The demise of westerns has been regularly predicted by doom and gloom publishing soothsayers. However, the blaze of six-guns in a west more of the imagination than reality has always adapted and survived. Following the success of the modern men’s adventure genre, the western genre responded with a mutation of their own—the adult western.

What qualifies as an adult western you ask…Having broken into the writing world via the adult western series Diamondback (written under the publishing house owned pseudonym Pike Bishop—how fortuitous), I will paraphrase what the publisher told me: “You can write whatever you want as long as there are two graphic sex scenes somewhere in the manuscript…” Despite this throwaway edict, the adult western has produced an amazing array of six-gun action in the pulp western tradition, with a bit of saucy action thrown in to spice things up. 

The adult western became a publishing golden goose…New series popped up monthly and faded rapidly, but there were more than a few series which tenaciously held on for literally hundreds of monthly entries—most often written by a rotating team of authors writing under the same pseudonym. Buckskin ( 40 titles); Spur (42 titles); Longarm (400 titles); Slocum (397 titles), Trailsman (358 titles), and the most successful adult western series and the last man left standing from the old guard, The Gunsmith (400 titles). 

The amazing thing about The Gunsmith series is the pseudonym J.R. Roberts is not a team of writers, but one man—Robert J. Randisi.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Bob for many years and have always been amazed not just by his prolific abilities (250 titles above and beyond The Gunsmith series), but by his consistent level of quality. Bob Randisi is a writers writer, a man who is a pure storyteller—a yarn spinner of inordinate ability and skill.

Killer Nashville—a high profile annual writers convention—recently awarded the 2016 John Seigenthaler Legends Award stating:

We are honored to announce Robert J. Randisi as the recipient of the 2016 Killer Nashville John Seigenthaler Legends Award. An exceptionally prolific author—he has written over 650 novels in the western, mystery, sci-fi, horror, and spy genres, under different pseudonyms—Randisi’s dedication to the craft is rivaled only by his passion for advocating, encouraging, and featuring other genre writers.

He has edited over 30 short-story anthologies, collections in which numerous authors found their first breaks. His willingness to share professional insights led him to serve as co-founder and editor of Mystery Scene magazine, a publication that has influenced and guided aspiring writers since 1985. His desire to highlight new talent birthed another of his brainchildren, the now-coveted Shamus Award. And in founding The Private Eye Writers of America, and co-founding the American Crime Writers League, he not only raised the bar for multiple genres, but also demonstrated the legitimacy of crime writers by showing that they were not sensationalists, but real writers addressing real problems.

Sometimes referred to as “last of the pulp greats”, which we view as a high compliment, Robert Randisi is a living legend, and a quintessentially American author: a true writer, not a brand or a celebrity. He shares the vision of Killer Nashville, and has exemplified it consistently throughout his life. We are truly thankful to have him joining us this year.

The kudos are well deserved. Starting in 1982, The Gunsmith series has survived not only enough sexy entanglements to make Wilt Chamberlin blush, but bullet after bullet—not just on the page, but from the publishing world itself. Repeatedly finding new publishing homes and new fans, the character of Clint Adams—The Gunsmith, has proven to be as durable, adaptable, and reliable as Bob Randisi himself.

Under various other pseudonyms, Bob has created and written the Tracker, Mountain Jack Pike, Angel Eyes, Ryder, Talbot Roper, The Sons of Daniel Shaye, and The Gamblers western series. In the mystery genre, he is the author of the Miles Jacoby, Nick Delvecchio, Gil & Claire Hunt, Dennis McQueen, Joe Keough series among others. Praise has also poured in for Bob’s Rat Pack series of swingin’ mysteries, featuring titles such as Everybody Kills Somebody Sometime and When Somebody Kills You.

Having written more than 500 western novels and many others in the mystery, sci-fi, horror, and espionage genres, Bob has also edited over 30 anthologies. All told he is the author of over 650 novels—and he shows no sign of slowing down… 

With the continuing e-book publication (via Piccadilly Publishing) of The Gunsmith titles approaching #415, print publication of The Gunsmith series—starting with The Gunsmith #400 The Lincoln Ransom—is making its premiere from a leading independent publisher on the cutting edge of genre fiction, Pro Se Productions.

Commenting on acquiring the print publication rights to new novels in The Gunsmith series, Pro Se Publications editor-in-chief Tommy Handcock state, “To say Pro Se Productions is proud to be a part of the continuing adventures of The Gunsmith is a huge understatement. I’ve been a fan of Bob Randisi’s work—and The Gunsmith series—for many years…long before I came to Pro Se. To be able to work with an author of Bob’s caliber and to be publishing the adventures of such an iconic adult western hero as The Gunsmith, is one of the crowning achievement for Pro Se.”

Continuing to be published under the pseudonym J. R. Roberts, The Gunsmith #400 The Lincoln Ransom features a typically clever Randisi plot: Clint Adams, the legendary figure known as The Gunsmith, rides once more as he charges head on into danger and death seeking the stolen body of President Abraham Lincoln. Extremists loyal to the now dead Confederacy have stolen the corpse of Lincoln and the Government wants The Gunsmith to get it back…With ransom in hand, Clint Adams sets out to discover who was behind the snatching of his friend, President Abraham Lincoln. With private detective Talbot Roper, The Gunsmith encounters soldiers not yet ready to give up the fight and who are still prepared to die for the Confederacy! Two men against a potential army—an army that doesn’t stand a chance when one of those men is The Gunsmith!


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