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The Sixteen-Dollar Shooter

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

Bradford Counter stood six feet three and weighed two hundred and twenty pounds. He was a graduate of the University of Southern Texas’s Police Science and Administration Class and had passed the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s training course for police officers with honors. His black belts in judo and karate were backed by a thorough knowledge of roughhouse brawling and dirty fighting. By virtue of his expertise with firearms, he was a member of the F.B.I.’s exclusive ‘Possible Club’ and his scores on the Police Combat Shooting Course of the Rockabye County Sheriff’s Office earned him an extra sixteen dollars a week.
With such qualifications Brad knew plenty about the theory of modern law enforcement. But before he had held his badge for thirty-six hours, he found himself up against a pair of professional killers who never hesitated to use their guns. Under those conditions experience counted, and theory was of little use. Because in a real gunfight, there was only one second prize awarded … death!


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."

His heroes were often based on his favourite film stars, so that Dusty Fog resembled Audie Murphy, and the Ysabel Kid was an amalgam of Elvis Presley in Flaming Star and Jack Buetel in The Outlaw.

Before becoming a recluse in his last years, JT's favourite boast was that Melton Mowbray was famous for three things: "The pie, Stilton cheese and myself but not necessarily in that order."

Genre: Western

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Used availability for J T Edson's The Sixteen-Dollar Shooter

Paperback Editions

April 1974 : UK Paperback

Title: Sixteen-dollar Shooter
Author(s): J T Edson
ISBN: 0-552-09478-1 / 978-0-552-09478-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

June 2016 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: The Sixteen Dollar Shooter (A Rockabye County Western Book 1)
Author(s): J T Edson
Publisher: Piccadilly Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA