Ol' Mean Pete is a mighty slippery character.
In addition to the Mean Pete handle, he also goes by aliases such as Peter Brandvold and Frank Leslie. You just know you gotta keep your eye on any hombre who dodges around like that. What's more, word has it that he soon will be pulling his picket pin and hitting the wide open trail with some dubious dame called Miss Sydney … putting him even more on the dodge.
But the good news about all of this is that --- by whatever name and from wherever he may roam --- Peter Brandvold (that one is his real moniker, folks, in case you're trying to keep track) keeps on turning out some of the toughest, grittiest, most exciting Westerns being published today. And most of them are being first made available on Kindle through Mean Pete Press.
Just today, I posted reviews on Amazon for three of the most recent:
Blood Trail of the Horsetooth Widow
Nobody writes tougher, grittier, more action-packed Westerns than Frank Leslie (who everybody knows is really Peter Brandvold, ol' Mean Pete hisself). In addition to rough and tumble protagonists and vicious villains, he also creates some of the sexiest, most memorable gals on the frontier --- the Horsetooth Widow in this yarn being among the tops. Saddle up for twists, turns, double- and triple-crosses, gun-blazing shootouts, and bouts of blistering sex. Recommended.
Love and Bullets
Author Brandvold crams so much into this short, bittersweet, action-packed tale that you come away feeling more satisfied than you often do after reading a novel-length work from other writers. The title really says it all. Drifter Tanner Moody meets a ravishing Spanish beauty who just happens to be a vengeance-seeking outlaw, falls in love with her amidst a flurry of hard riding and blazing bullets ... only to have it all end tragically. But not until he has discovered the root of her desperate rage and makes sure her revenge is complete. Not to bee missed.
The Devil's Ambush
I've been a huge Lou Prophet fan right from the git-go, and this latest entry in the series only makes me appreciate the depth of the character and the talent of author Brandvold all the more. This is a somewhat more reflective, slower-paced outing for the rugged bounty hunter (keeping in mind that slower-paced for Mean Pete still means plenty of grit and action) as he struggles with concern for the well-being of his sometimes partner/sometimes lover Louisa Bonneventure while at the same time plotting revenge for those who harmed her. There is a mysterious, somewhat eerie tone to all of this as the central storyline and a couple of subplots gradually play out. When the conclusion comes, it is fast and satisfying and we can rest assured that Prophet --- and Louisa --- will ride again for our enjoyment. Strongly recommended.
One must always keep in mind that Amazon reviews are a multi-edged sword. It is a good forum for common, everyday readers to voice their opinions and (hopefully) support authors and books that they like. Unfortunately, it is also an outlet that can be used for personal beefs and agendas that can drag a book's "rating" down for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the work itself.
In the end, any review --- even by the so-called pros --- is only one person's opinion. As an author, if you enjoy the reviews that laud your work, then you must also accept the ones that may be less flattering. To take issue is to look like a whiner munching sour grapes … IF the reviews are done in a genuinely analytical way, that is. For the other kind, the author still has little recourse without putting him- or herself in a bad light.
But that doesn't mean that others can't take up the skirmish for them.
While preparing to write my review for Devil's Ambush, I noted that one of the reviews already posted was only one star. One star? What the hell was up with that? Then I read the review and found out --- The so-called reviewer hadn't even read the book. He or she (the byline was one of those chickenshit kind that uses a cutesy term ["interchangeable head", in this case] instead of an actual identity) was *actually* bitching because the work was available only as an eBook, meaning IC would have to buy "a hunnert dollar machine" to read what was allegedly being reviewed. So, for those reasons, the book's rating got trashed.
I, in turn, gave Devil's Ambush a 5-star rating (legitimately so, because I liked it that much) and unloaded a piece of my mind in the Comments section of IC's review.
I encourage everyone else to take similar action when you run across this kind of thing. In the grand scheme, I don't know how important an Amazon star rating is to a book's success, especially for an established name like Brandvold/Leslie. But it surely might make a difference for a lesser-known. Besides, what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong. If we don't hit a lick for right at least once in a while, then we're allowing wrong to skate free.