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Hellfire Canyon Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pinnacle; 1st Printing edition (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786017805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786017805
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,899,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Hellfire Canyon is not the typical. There is violence and even gun play, but there is more--a yearning and understanding of history, legend, and even folklore...  It is more folklore and legend than anything else, and I loved every word."-- Benjamin Boulden, the Gravetapping books blog.


"Max McCoy spins quite a tale of Civil War-era Missouri featuring one of America's first serial killers...Hellfire Canyon is an interesting historical novel, an engrossing, intriguing, well-told story."-- Thomas Garrett, the Baxter Bulletin. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Max McCoy has made a name for himself among fans of Old West tales by penning novels that sizzle with the heat of flying lead and lightning-fast gunslingers. Hellfire Canyon features Alf Brolin, a tall drink of water who guns down innocent victims with the same carelessness with which he quotes classic literature. Federal trooper Zach Thomas, however, lacks any appreciation for Brolin's airs and means to see the outlaw put six feet in the ground. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Max McCoy is an award-winning novelist and journalist. He's a member of Mystery Writers of America and is the creator of the Ophelia Wylde paranormal mystery series.

The first book in the series, "Of Grave Concern," was launched in July 2013 at the Boot Hill Museum Complex in Dodge City, Kansas. The novel is set in 1877 in Dodge City and surroundings.

McCoy is also known for his dark and offbeat westerns (which have been described as "western noir") and his original Indiana Jones adventures for Bantam and licensed by Lucasfilm.

He won the Spur award for best novel in 2008 from the Western Writers of America for "Hellfire Canyon." It's the story of a 13-year-old boy and his mother who walk across Missouri during the Civil War and become part of the gang led by Alf Bolin, the notorious Ozark serial killer. "Hellfire Canyon" was also named a Kansas 2008 Notable Book.

In 2011, the third book in the "Hellfire" trilogy, "Damnation Road," also won a Spur. McCoy is the author of many other books, including the novelization of Steven Spielberg's epic miniseries, "Into the West."

His fiction debut, "The Sixth Rider," about the 1892 raid on Coffeyville's banks by the Dalton Gang, was published by Doubleday and won the Spur/Medicine Pipe Award for Best First Novel from Western Writers.

USA Today has described his writing as "powerful." In addition to westerns and historical fiction, McCoy also writes contemporary adventures. Publishers Weekly called his novel, "The Moon Pool," an "intelligent thriller... tightly drawn characters, a vile villain and a satisfying, thought-provoking conclusion make this a compelling read."

McCoy grew up in Baxter Springs and most of his books are set in Kansas or Missouri. He began his career in journalism at the Pittsburg Morning Sun and writing for pulp magazines such as "True Detective" and "Front-Page Detective." As investigative writer for The Joplin Globe, he won first-place awards in investigative journalism for his stories on serial killers and hate groups.

McCoy's an associate professor of journalism at Emporia State University at Emporia, Kansas, and director of the Tallgrass Writing Workshop.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Boulden on May 24, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hellfire Canyon is the story of Jacob Gamble: outlaw, renegade and general trouble-maker. He is the archetypal western outlaw, with one exception: He is likable, and rather than the antagonist, he is the hero.

The novel begins when three men trample into young Jacob's farmhouse and demand breakfast from his mother. They are confederate soldiers with a platoon of blue bellies hot on their trail. This is the catalyst that shapes Jacob's life--the Union soldiers burn down his home, and he discovers his father is in lockup scheduled to be hanged. Jacob and his mother set out to save his father, but instead find themselves crossing Missouri in the company of a stranger, facing cutthroats, soldiers, the coming winter, and finally forced induction into the gang of the notorious killer Alf Bolin.

Hellfire Canyon is not the typical. There is violence and even gun play, but there is more--a yearning and understanding of history, legend, and even folklore. Gamble is an admitted liar, killer and thief, but he--the story is written in first person--portrays himself never as a victim, but as a survivor. Interestingly, in the opening pages of the novel he casts doubt on everything that is to come: And I won't tell the truth. Instead, I will spin the tale that is expected--that I was forced by circumstances at the tender age of thirteen to become the youngest member of the Bolin gang.

Hellfire Canyon is a campfire story. It is raw, tender, and fresh, but we are left knowing it isn't the real story. It is the story the witness--Jacob Gamble--wants us to know, or perhaps more accurately thinks we want to know. It is more folklore and legend than anything else, and I loved every word.

Ben Boulden

Gravetapping: a thing for books
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. B. on October 26, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
An interesting story of Jacob Gamble and how he became an outlaw at thirteen when he was taken in by Alf Bolin, the meanest, most ruthless, vilest outlaw in all Missouri, or anyway as the tale is told many years later by Jacob Gamble to a newspaper reporter. The War Between the States, South against North, Rebel against Yankee; sometimes reading of those times, one wonders how one nation can turn upon itself so completely. Caught in the Kansas/Missouri border warfare, Jacob Gamble and his mother, their house burned by Yankees after they are forced to give aid to guerrilla fighters, set out on foot to walk the many miles to where their husband/father is imprisoned. They fail in that endeavor, but do get another man released and they're on the road again. Eventually, they met up with Bolin and his gang of cutthroats and Jacob becomes a part of his gang. But Jacob isn't rotten all the way through, or is he? A good read, I found myself reading late into the night to see what would happen next. Eunice Boeve, author of Ride a Shadowed Trail
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked this paperback up in a swap, and let it sit on the shelf for a long time. Last night I picked it up, and finished it in two sittings. I'm glad I have Canyon Diablo, so I can keep the story going.
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Format: Kindle Edition
McCoy has always been one of my favorite authors, from Indiana Jones, to Westerns. His attention to historical detail--no doubt a by-product of his work as an award-winning journalist--is both impeccable and impressive. He's outdone himself with Damnation Road. It is no wonder the book won a 2011 Spur Award from the Western Writers Association.

The tale begins in 1898. It is the story of Jacob Gamble, a man conflicted by his wish to go straight, and the bitter deep-rooted knowledge that the conspiracies of life, and his outlaw genetics would always somehow, someway, prevent every attempt.

McCoy skillfully weaves in Campbell's violent past with tumultuous, "current" action, no holds barred. Gambles is a tough guy, unyielding but with great sensitivity, which--though deeply buried--fuels his desire to be something other than what he is, at the same paradoxically resigning him to the reality of being nothing more than he's meant to be.

The vernacular, action and detail is sterling McCoy. A must read for any aficionado of the personalities and legends of the historical West. Two thumbs up!

Reid Lance Rosenthal
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