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book cover of The Professional Killers

The Professional Killers

(1968)
(The fourth book in the Rockabye County series)
A novel by

 
 
Tom Cord was within three months of retirement when bushwhack lead cut him down. No lawman ever allowed one of his fellow officers to be murdered without making every effort to get his killer. Deputy Sheriff Bradford Counter, a modern-day gun wizard, had been Tom's partner; Woman Deputy Alice Fayde was Tom's niece.
Together they began the hunt for the old deputy's killer. The search took them across the Rockabye County rangelands, through the slums of Gusher City's Bad Bit and into the upper-crust district of Upton Heights. At last the trail ended, with Brad Counter's gun-skill matched against the two professional killers who shot his partner down.

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."

    

Used availability for J T Edson's The Professional Killers

Hardback Editions

September 1988 : UK Hardback

Title: Professional Killers
Author(s): J T Edson
ISBN: 0-7278-1680-2 / 978-0-7278-1680-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Severn House Publishers Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

February 1991 : UK Paperback

Title: Professional Killers
Author(s): J T Edson
ISBN: 0-7505-0146-4 / 978-0-7505-0146-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Magna Large Print Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


February 1991 : UK Paperback
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Title: Professional Killers (Thorndike Large Print Magna Popular Series)
Author(s): J T Edson
ISBN: 0-7505-0065-4 / 978-0-7505-0065-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Magna Large Print Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


December 1968 : UK Paperback
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Title: Professional Killers
Author(s): J T Edson
ISBN: 0-552-08048-9 / 978-0-552-08048-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

June 2017 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: The Professional Killers (A Rockabye County Western Book 4)
Author(s): J T Edson
Publisher: Piccadilly Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA