Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Stunt Man's Holiday by John Whitlatch

The last time I wrote about author John Whitlatch, I noted that nobody seemed to know very much about him. He wrote eleven paperback originals for Pocket Books between 1969 and 1976, all of them rugged adventures about rugged, manly dudes doing rugged, manly things.

Since my post, blogger Paul Bishop was able to find and chat with an old friend of Whitlatch's. It appears Whitlatch died of a brain tumor in 1981, which is also the last year he was published. Please go to Bish's Beat here to learn more about the enigmatic author.

As for Whitlatch's work, I recently finished STUNT MAN'S HOLIDAY, which is a sequel of sorts to FRANK T.'S PLAN. It revolves a supporting character from that book, Hollywood stuntman and full-blooded Apache Max Besh. More or less one long chase, STUNT MAN'S HOLIDAY teams Besh with obnoxious standup comic Les Rick (an obvious double for Don Rickles) on a two-man trek across the desert in pursuit of robbers who have kidnapped Rick's wife and stolen $6000 of Besh's Vegas winnings.

It's structured similarly to FRANK T.'S PLAN, which had pretty much the same plot, and allows Whitlatch to get in plenty of snipes at women and hippies, which he seems to hate equally. STUNT MAN'S HOLIDAY isn't action-packed, but it's always interesting, as Whitlatch shares many helpful tips on camping, tracking, horseback riding, etc. That's one reason Rick is along--to give Besh someone to teach manliness to and give Whitlatch the excuse to show off what he knows.

STUNT MAN'S HOLIDAY is also a mystery of sorts, and if you're paying attention, Whitlatch scatters clues along the sandy path (I wasn't, but in retrospect, it all makes sense). If you're into macho adventuring, John Whitlatch is a good author to follow.

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