book cover of The Drifter

The Drifter

(The fifth book in the Waco series)
A novel by

When Waco moseys into Two Forks, Utah, he orders up more than the cowhand special. What he gets for his two bits is a double dose of fast-shooting trouble. Five of the meanest toughs to ever saddle a stool at the Twin Bridge Saloon are hell-bent on pumping lead into Waco's hide. And a few well-aimed slugs teach them that the quick-drawing Texan is the wrong man to tangle with.
Obliging a passel of no-account gunslingers with a shooting lesson is only a start to the troubles waiting for Waco in Two Forks. Aiming to rid the lawless town of every pistol-packing varmint, Waco fixes to pin on a sheriff's tin star. But first he's gotta face a rattlesnake of a rival whose venom has already sent one sheriff to his grave...

John Thomas Edson (February 17 1928, died July 17 2014 ) JT Edson was a former British Army dog-handler who wrote more than 130 Western novels, accounting for some 27 million sales in paperback.
Edson's works - produced on a word processor in an Edwardian semi at Melton Mowbray - contain clear, crisp action in the traditions of B-movies and Western television series. What they lack in psychological depth is made up for by at least 12 good fights per volume . Each portrays a vivid, idealised "West That Never Was", at a pace that rarely slackens.
His authentic descriptions of 19th-century weapons, his interest in what causes a gun to jam and in the mechanics of cheating at cards enjoyed a strong following, especially among serving British soldiers. But his accounts of catfights involving women punching, scratching and biting as they tear the clothes off each other in the mud, did not appeal to the new breed of feminist publishing executives. Others pointed out that a young man sent to Broadmoor for killing a Sunday School teacher claimed to have modelled himself on Edson's hero, the half-Comanche, half-Irish Ysabel Kid. There was also the novel The Hooded Riders (1968), which portrayed an organisation resembling the Ku Klux Klan as a heroic resistance group.
John Thomas Edson was born at Worksop, Nottinghamshire, on February 17 1928, the son of a miner who was killed in an accident when John was nine. He left Shirebrook Selective Central School at 14 to work in a stone quarry and joined the Army four years later.
As a sergeant in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Edson served in Kenya during the Emergency, on one occasion killing five Mau Mau on patrol. He started writing in Hong Kong, and when he won a large cash prize in a tombola he invested in a typewriter.
On coming out of the Army after 12 years with a wife and children to support, Edson learned his craft while running a fish-and-chip shop and working on the production line at a local pet food factory. His efforts paid off when Trail Boss (1961) won second prize in a competition with a promise of publication and an outright payment of 50.
The publishers offered 25 more for each subsequent book, and with the addition of earnings from serial-writing for the comic Victor, Edson was able to settle down to professional authorship. When the comic's owners decided that nobody read cowboy stories any more, he was forced to get a job as a postman (the job had the by-product of enabling him to lose six stone in weight from his original 18).
Edson's prospects improved when Corgi Books took over his publisher, encouraged him to produce seven books a year and promised him royalties for the first time. In 1974 he made his first visit to the United States, to which he was to return regularly in search of reference books. He declared that he had no desire to live in the Wild West, adding: "I've never even been on a horse. I've seen those things, and they look highly dangerous at both ends and bloody uncomfortable in the middle. My only contact was to shoot them for dog meat."

Genre: Western

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Used availability for J T Edson's The Drifter

Hardback Editions

November 1979 : UK Hardback

Title: The Drifter
Author(s): J T Edson
ISBN: 0-7091-4439-3 / 978-0-7091-4439-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

April 1989 : USA Paperback

Title: The Drifter
Author(s): John Thomas Edson
ISBN: 1-55773-183-7 / 978-1-55773-183-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Diamond Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

February 1968 : UK Paperback

Title: The Drifter
Author(s): J T Edson
ISBN: 0-552-07845-X / 978-0-552-07845-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

August 2017 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: The Drifter (A Waco Western Book 5)
Author(s): J T Edson
Publisher: Piccadilly Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA