Ah, Westerns… Such a glorious genre, especially if you are after something that isn’t very good.
Which brings me directly to Big Gold. Number 14 in a series featuring a hero called Edge, but you don’t need yo read the first 13 to appreciate it (and you certainly don’t need to read the following 47 books in the series- 61 in total.)
61 books… You don’t need to be a genius to understand that these are not masterpieces, but you are not picking up a novel named Big Gold featuring an anti-hero named Edge and expecting Hemingway.
This novel came my way in much the same way as The Deer Hunter, only it was handed to me, and I didn’t have to hunt it down over the course of five years. After reading it, I now know why.
So, is the novel as good as Hemingway?
No- and I’ve never read him! What you get is a story featuring a giant block of gold and a man that has no interest in stealing it. Which is odd, because he is such an uncaring asshole. There’s a carnival, a town or two, a couple of women that exist for no other reason except sexual violence and other characters that need to be shot or stabbed or otherwise dispatched.
Oh, and a few tigers.
But that is probably what you want! In today’s world, it can be quite liberating to read a story that really wants to star Clint Eastwood but doesn’t have the budget- and this is a story that is running in your own mind. You could imagine anyone, but what you will no doubt imagine is Clint without a face, because he has a name: Edge. A half-breed Mexican for no reason at all. I’m sure there are descriptions of scars and hard eyes and stubble, but it is all very vanilla and you’ve read it a million times before (possibly 13 times, if you started from the start.)
The story is pretty dull, the action forgettable… In many ways it is a disappointment- but for the one-liners. Every chapter ends with one, and it soon becomes clear that the characters, the plot- everything!- exists purely so Edge can make a cruel joke at someone’s expense. I don’t want to ruin them here and, to be honest, they aren’t very good but there is so little else to be interested in that it does brighten up the mood.
So, should you read it? I wouldn’t bother, although as a man who would love to spend all day writing crap and getting paid for it, I can’t help but be a little jealous. I was born in the wrong era.