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Leonard Meares

Sydney born Leonard Frank Meares published around 750 novels, mostly westerns. His best-known works feature Texas trouble-shooters Larry and Stretch. Before starting to write, Meares served in the Royal Australian Air Force, worked in the Department of Immigration and sold shoes. In the mid-1950s he bought a typewriter to write radio and film scripts. Inspired by the success of local paperback westerns, he wrote Trouble Town, which was published by the Cleveland Publishing Company in 1955.

His tenth yarn, Drift! (1956), introduced Larry Valentine and Stretch Emerson. In 1960, he created a brief but memorable series of westerns set in and around the town of Bleak Creek. Four years later came The Night McLennan Died, the first of more than 70 westerns (sometimes called oaters) to feature cavalryman-turned-manhunter Big Jim Rand.

In mid-1966, Meares left Cleveland to write exclusively for the Horwitz Group. Horwitz soon sold more than 30 novels to Bantam Books for publication in the United States, where for legal reasons 'Marshall Grover' became 'Marshall McCoy', 'Larry and Stretch' became 'Larry and Streak' and 'Big Jim Rand' became 'Nevada Jim Gage'.


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