Posts tagged ‘Gene Hackman’

BOOK REVIEW: WAKE OF THE PERDIDO STAR by Gene Hackman and Daniel Lenihan

Perdido Star

A Seafaring Novel By Gene Hackman and Daniel Lenihan
Reviewed by Charles Johnson
February 25, 2020

Published by William Morrow Publishing
384 pages
ISBN 1-55704-398-1
Copyright 1999

As a young lad of 16 in the year 1805, Jack O’Reilly experiences his family being forced out of one country, only to settle in another where he watches the murder of his parents. He stows away aboard the ship that brought him to the new country and finds himself a member of a crew that is sailing around the world. His hunger for revenge against his parent’s killer is fertilized over time, and opportunities arise during his seafaring time to develop a plan that satisfies that deep hunger for revenge.

In addition to witnessing those horrible murders, Jack sails on the PERDIDO STAR, where he meets his seaworthy crewmen, including a man who was to become a lifelong friend, a blustery bloke, headstrong characters, and a captain who makes the work “inept” seem an easy title to earn. There are storms at sea, battles among the crewmen and between other sailing vessels, hand-to-hand combat, and struggles of varying degrees of life-threatening depth. There are also the islanders and their chief who become allies when the PERDIDO STAR is run aground. As the nemesis, in addition to the murder of Jack’s parents, there are the other marauding pirates who wish to see the end of Jack and his entourage.

Hackman and Lenihan offer great detail in sailing ships of the day. The nomenclature of all the rigs and sails abound throughout the book, especially when an engineering feat that defies the landlubber’s sense of logic (but nonetheless works out) must come to pass. So much of this engineering feat requires some aquatic skills that aren’t standard knowledge back then – but our innovative characters figure out how to bring about such endeavors – and more than once these skills come in handy.

It is up to the reader to discover the answer to Jack’s revenge – but it can be said that the answer comes in a book of great description and character, with rousing action in a theatre of the oceangoing sailing ships of the time.


Book Review: PAYBACK AT MORNING PEAK by Gene Hackman

Reviewed by Charles Johnson


By Gene Hackman
484 pages (Large Print Version)
Published by Gale/Cengage Learning
Copyright 2011
ISBN 978-1-4104-4327-4

Yes, it is THAT Gene Hackman. With this novel in the western genre, it is clear that Mr. Hackman is no one-trick pony. Unquestionably, he can act – and as far as I’m concerned, he can also write as well as he acts. I’ve read some westerns published by the same company – I sure hope Cengage encourages Mr. Hackman to boil up some more stories in the vein of PAYBACK AT MORNING PEAK.

The story; a family is ransacked by a gang of thug cowboys who have nothing better to do – or so it seems. The family suffers major losses; it falls upon the son (Jubal) to right those wrongs that had been perpetrated by the thugs. The setting: northeastern New Mexico – by horse, by foot, across the plains, and up and down the mountains – very aptly described by the author

In the previous westerns I’ve read, they are steeped with stereotypical heroes and villains, and if we’re lucky, more than one dimension deep. In his largest strength as a writer of this book, Mr. Hackman, however, gives us true, deep characters – there’s the family we meet in the first pages of the story – by the time the reader finishes the book, we know the father to be a strong, disciplined man, the mother to be a loyal, educated woman, the sister to be a pursuer of her dreams, and the son (the protagonist of the book, Jubal) to be so committed to his family that he will do what he can to be true to his family – a wisdom he gained from his parents.

And there are the villains – no cartoon characters here. These guys are truly immoral, driven by greed and arrogance. They are selfishly loyal – there is no hesitation to taking out a member of the gang if it serves the right purpose of “me above all others”. Their behavior comes out towards any member of the community, whether it’s the family in the beginning of the book or a bartender, a law enforcement official, or merely riding through town to whup up some excitement as they bring turmoil to wherever they are.

Other characters range from the honorable deputy, the judge, the love interest of Jubal, store owners, and others that we know from westerns as being “colorful”.

With a good pace of excitement, a touch of romance, and a few moments of comic relief, Mr. Hackman has spun as good a tale as I’ve read in a western. Mr. Hackman deserves equal awards for PAYBACK AT MORNING PEAK as he received for his years of movies.