Sunday, September 2, 2012

Robert J Randisi: Bullets and Lies #western

Bullets and Lies
by Robert J. Randisi

Berkley Books
Available September 4 at:
Amazon, B&N, BAM

Romancing The West welcomes one of the most prolific and talented authors of our day, Robert J. Randisi. He's the author of more than 540 books in the Western, Private Eye, Men's Adventure, and Horror genres. As J.R. Roberts he is the creator and author of the long running series "The Gunsmith." He also wrote a created the Tracker, Angel Eyes, Bounty Hunter, Mountain Jack Pike, Widowmaker, Gamblers, Sons of Daniel Shaye and Ryder series. 

Born in Brooklyn, New York he currently resides in Clarksville, Missouri--a town of 500 people overlooking the Mississippi River.  He's written more books than his town has people.  Think about it.
And now let's talk about his new book:

Overview of Bullets and Lies

A Mission for Dignity

When former Pinkerton Talbot Roper receives a job offer from an ailing Civil War veteran whose Medal of Honor is about to be revoked, he agrees to help his fellow serviceman. Some believe that Howard Westover's medal was undeserved, but Roper is determined to track down the men who served with him and get their signed affidavits to prove that his Medal of Honor was earned...

But Roper's journey is soon derailed when he discovers that two of his contacts are already dead--one hanged twenty years ago, one murdered minutes before his arrival. The men who served with Westover are being hunted down, and Roper's increasingly dangerous investigation earns him the next spot on the hit list. Aware that someone has been lying to him, Roper can stay one step ahead of the assassin. But the question remains: Will his quick wit be enough to save him from the line of fire and secure a dying man's legacy?

RTW: Why do you write Westerns? What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into Bullets and Lies?

RJR: I got started writing Westerns because I was asked, back in 1981, if I could. At the time I was thinking of myself as only a mystery writer, but the opportunities to break into the business were much more available if you wrote westerns in the 80's. So I said yes, and created The Gunsmith series, which has been appearing one a month since January 1982. After that I realized I enjoyed everything about writing westerns, including the research. So I have written as many as I could--about 400, to date.

RTW: And we're glad you did!  If you lived in 1884, what would you visit first? Is there something you’ve been curious about that you can’t find in your research sources?

RJR: If I lived in 1884 I'd have been a gambler, checking out all the gambling venues I could find, especially those in Portsmouth Square in San Francisco. And I certainly would have gone to the White Elephant in Fort Worth.

RTW: A gambler, eh?  I guess we gamble with every book we write, don't we?  If a person who had never read a Western (any sub-genre) asked you for a recommendation, what novel or movie would you recommend and why? What did the author do to bring the story alive for you?

RJR: I'd recommend movies that illustrate the realism of the west rather than the myth--something like Ride The High Country rather than Tombstone. Also Unforgiven, which shows the effect of killing for a living on a man. In print I always preferred reading series that showed the myth, like the Fargo series by John Benteen. But for realism I'd recommend something like Warlock by Oakley Hall.

RTW: Back to Bullets and Lies--why must Talbot Roper take this particular story journey? What does he have to prove?

RJR: The thing about Roper is that he has nothing to prove. He is a private detective in the changing West, the best, and he works for a living. That means that's what he does he does for money. Don't look for anything noble in why he starts a job, but as the job develops he may discover a dilemma that can only be solved through nobility.

Excerpt of Bullets and Lies
by Robert J. Randisi
Berkley Books, available September 4, 2012

After their pie—apple for White but cherry for Roper—White paid the bill and they walked outside. Roper was the first to hear the shot. He slammed his shoulder into White’s, taking him to the ground. From there he drew his gun and got himself to one knee. He heard someone running toward them and pointed his gun.

“Easy,” White said. “That’s my driver.”

“Are you all right, sir?”

“Yes, yes, I’m fine,” White said, “thanks to Mr. Roper.”

“Did you see where the shot came from, son?” Roper asked.

“No, sir,” the young man said, “I was down the street.”

Roper and White got to their feet.

“Come on,” White said, giving Roper a push, “let’s get to the carriage.”

Roper turned, saw that the bullet had missed the windows behind them and instead imbedded itself in the door of the restaurant. Inside diners had hit the floor, and were now warily getting to their feet.

“Come on!” White said. “Before somebody comes outside and starts asking questions.”

The three of them hurried down the street, Roper and the driver with their guns out, keeping White between them. It seemed to be the general consensus of opinion that he had been the intended target.

When they reached the carriage they climbed in. The young soldier leaped into his seat and got the horse going at a gallop.

Roper holstered his gun and asked, “Does this happen to you a lot?”

“Once in a while.”

“So not everyone in Washington thinks you’re a bullshit politician.”

“Apparently not.”

When they got back to the hotel the young driver stopped right in front, and drew his gun.

“I don’t think anyone followed us, Hopkins,” White said.

“Can’t be too sure, sir.”

“Good point,” White said. He looked at Roper.

“Well, thanks for an exciting evening,” Roper said.

“You know,” White said, “I’m not forcing you to leave tomorrow.”

“No, you’re right,” Roper said. “If I’m going to do this I better get to it. You watch your back.”

“And you yours.”

Roper climbed down.

“I never asked. How long have you been . . . in your current job?”

“Going on five years.”

“Do you like it?”

White thought a moment, then said, “I think that comes under the heading of be careful what you wish—and work—for.”

Roper said goodnight, told White he’d be in touch, then went inside and told the desk clerk to prepare his bill.

“Are you leaving now, sir?”

“First thing in the morning.”

He went up to his room.

# # #

RTW: What’s next? Is Bullets and Lies a part of a series?

RJR: This is the first in the series, the second, The Reluctant Pinkerton, will appear next year, but between now and then there will be many, many other books, westerns and mysteries. The Gunsmith is still appearing once a month, my new Rat Pack mystery, It Was a Very Bad Year, will be out in November.

RTW: Talbot Roper is a great character.  Anything else you’d like to add?

RJR: I'd like to point out that while Talbot Roper is a spin-off from The Gunsmith series, these books are published under my real name, not a pseudonym, and they arer NOT Adult Westerns. On the other hand, The Gunsmith series has enjoyed a recent increase in sales, even after 30 years. So go out and buy a Gunsmith, and a copy of Bullets and Lies!

Thank you, Robert, for stopping by today.

RTW readers: do you like free books? Do you love Robert J Randisi books? Of course you do. One commenter will win a copy of a Randisi book. You have four days to comment, but to qualify you have to leave your email address so we can get in touch with you. Winner will be drawn September 7th at 9pm Pacific Time.  USA mailing only, please.  Good luck!


  1. So pleased to read this interview with Robert Randisi. I was fortunate enough to meet him a few years ago at Books in Bloom in Eureka Springs, Ar. He was so kind to talk to me about my writing. Now I'm drawn back into his western world and after reading the excerpt of Bullets & Lies, know I have to have a copy. Thanks again, Robert for stopping by here and for being so nice to me.

  2. Bob, this looks like yet another winner--I'm like you--I like the realism in some instances, the myth in others. But I never go for books that are not realistic in their descriptions--whatever the plot might be. Though I started out writing western romance, it seems more and more I gravitate toward WESTERN, period. Sometimes, what I want to write is just not "right" for the romance guidelines that exist. I enjoyed your excerpt!

  3. I am in awe of Mr. Randisi and impressed that Jacquie is hosting him. Two great writers on one blog! I look forward to reading BULLETS AND LIES. Of course, I'd love to win a copy, hint, hint.

  4. Keep up the great work. Thanks for this Contest.

  5. sounds like you are a writer. Thanks a bunch for the westerns.

  6. Boy I love westerns thanks a bunch

  7. Nice interview and excerpt.


  8. I've not read Mr Randisi's books but would love the chance to do so. I love the history of the Old West and have read many books on the subject. Thanks for the info.


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