Review first published on RebeccasReads
Savage Noir: The Complete Adventures of Frank Savage
New Pulp (2013)
Reviewed by Kam Aures for Rebecca’s Reads (06/13)
I would like to preface this review by saying that the Western genre is not normally a genre that I pick up to read; however, as I enjoy expanding my horizons, I decided to give Greg Norgaard’s “Savage Noir: The Complete Adventures of Frank Savage” a try. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised.
Included in “Savage Noir” are three “tales of Western Noir”, including “A Savage Retribution”, “A Savage Darkness AKA The Big Hate”, and “An American Savage”. The first two stories in the book are around 180 pages each, while the third story is considerably shorter at around only 15 pages. All three have one thing in common, the main character of Frank Savage. Savage is an interesting cowboy/detective character who works for the government.
In the Prologue to the first story, we are introduced to Frank. He is sitting in a hilly terrain in the Nebraska Territory with his Henry rifle waiting for his adversary, Victor Danvil. He hears Danvil approach three hours in and Danvil immediately hones in on Frank’s hiding spot and fires off a shot. Quickly recovering, Frank jumps out from his cover and fires off two shots of his own. He sees no sign of movement from the two men he had just shot. Finally, he sees Danvil hit the ground. Then, he focuses his gaze on the other unknown man. As he walks over, he realizes that, along with shooting Danvil, he had just shot Danvil’s hostage, a completely innocent and unarmed man.
After this dramatic opening, which draws the reader right in, “A Savage Retribution” begins. Frank comes into the picture in Chapter 3 where we learn that, “Frank was trying to move away from his violent past. In his attempt to start a normal quiet life, he bought a store with a nice elderly couple in North Fork. After the store was up and running, he received a telegram from his old boss. It informed him that his friend and old partner, Derek, was beginning a new mission, and Savage was needed. Derek’s new assignment required Frank’s presence to establish a foothold on the case.” (p.27) After that, he would be able to continue his retirement. As we all can see where this is going, as this book consists of three stories involving Frank, retirement plans end up being put on hold.
I would recommend “Savage Noir: The Complete Adventures of Frank Savage” to those who enjoy Westerns, mysteries, suspense, and adventures. This compilation has it all. It is a very readable and entertaining book. Frank Savage is an intriguing main character to build a series of stories around. As each story, especially the last, is short in length, they would make for great poolside reads.