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J.R. Roberts

RJ Roberts
aka Robert J Randisi

J.R. Roberts is otherwise known as Robert J. Randisi, an American author who writes in the detective and Western genres. He has authored more than 500 published books and has edited more than 30 anthologies of short stories. Booklist magazine said he "may be the last of the pulp writers." He co-founded and edited Mystery Scene magazine and co-founded the American Crime Writers League. He founded The Private Eye Writers of America in 1981, where he created the Shamus Award. To date he has written almost 400 books in The Gunsmith series alone.

by Robert J. Randisi

Okay believe me, this is NOT sour grapes, but the success of 50 SHADES OF GREY makes one wonder - why does a book offering nothing new become a best seller?

Essentially, what 50 Shades offers is sex. For 30 years I've been writing The Gunsmith series as "J.R. Roberts," for The Berkley Publishing Group. It began in January of 1982, during a time when "Adult" westerns flooded the market, and has been appearing monthly since then. What's an Adult Western? It's a western novel with sex in it. That's right, the cowboy has sex with women. A new idea? Probably not, but heretofore this had not been seen in western novels (certainly not by Max Brand, Zane Grey, Owen Wister or Louis L'Amour). What these books actually showed was that men and women really did have sex in the old west. (Back when I started the series a rigidly traditional western writer of my acquaintance insisted to me that "women did not have orgasms in the old west."). Clint Adams, the Gunsmith, has had sex over the past 30 years with many women of different sizes and shapes, and in many different ways. That's why I say the kind of sex depicted in 50 SHADES is nothing new. So if you're one of the people who ran out to buy 50 SHADES when you heard about it, then run right out again and buy some Gunsmith books. The flood of Adult Westerns in the market during the 80's has slowed to a trickle. There are 4 left, but The Gunsmith remains the only such series still being written by a single author.

It's a fact that there is a current resurgence in Westerns. The Gunsmith series, in particular, has experienced increased sales. But if a combination of action and sex appeals to you, then get yourself 50 Shades of Gunsmith - or 350.

This first appeared in Ed Gorman's blog August 2012

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