Seven Out of Hell by George G Gilman #BookReview

CriminOlly thinks: Vicious western skilfully juggles two plots and throws in some humour to boot. 4/5

Title: Seven Out of Hell | Author: George G Gilman | Series: Edge #8 | Publisher: New English Library | Pages: 122 | Publication date: 1973 | Source: Self-purchased | Content warnings: Yes | Tolerance warning: Yes


Review

Seven Out of Hell is a brutal pulp western with an utterly ruthless protagonist. Rather confusingly, given the name, it’s the eighth book in the Edge series. Given George G Gilman (aka Terry Harknett)’s rather perverse sense of humour, that may well be deliberate. This book, like the previous few, is littered with terrible puns and dad jokes alongside the horrific violence. It’s an uncomfortable mix at times, but by and large it works.

This one is pretty much a direct sequel to book six, The Blue, the Grey and the Red, in its continuation of Edge’s back story as a Union captain in the American Civil War.It sees Josiah Hedges (as he was then) and his band of compatriots on the run deep behind Confederate lines. Interspersed with that we get a story involving Edge on a train that has been hijacked by Chinese bandits. Edge remains as stoic as ever as they brutally work their way through his fellow passengers, but naturally gets pissed off when they take his money.

Both stories are as vicious as readers will expect, and the flipping between the two plots works really well. They’re filled with the mix of tension and bursts of extreme violence that Gilman is so good at. Interestingly in the war story, Hedges spends much of his time incapacitated by wounds and so dishes out less punishment than he normally does. The other characters more than make up for it though, and the book Is gripping and grimly entertaining throughout.

There’s a simple pleasure to be had from this kind of formulaic men’s adventure novel. One that has been replaced for many by the joys of video gaming and the endless delights of streaming services. Straightforward stories of action told with a wry panache. Reliable entertainment that readers knew would give them an honest return for their money.


Synopsis

Summer of ’63 – back to the Civil War. 

A truly great train robbery. 

Chinese bandits and a village of women. 

Edge betrayed for a fistful of dollars. 

Cross and double-cross. 

And Death – always Death!

Everyone comes together at a small town called Wounded Knee.

Warnings

Content Warning: Racism, sexual violence

Tolerance Warning: Extremely sexist, possibly racist

2 thoughts on “Seven Out of Hell by George G Gilman #BookReview

Add yours

  1. Hi,

    I got into these books as a 10 year old, believe it or not my gran gave me my first Edge book, no.1 Edge The Loner. I went on to collect them through my teenage years, along with the Adam Steele series and Undertaker series, loved them. Round about the age of 18 i unfortunately lost my whole collection (long story) and just kind of gave up on them.

    Around about a year ago i started looking out for them on e-bay and swiftly started rebuying them and found my love for them was still there. I now own and have re-read No. 1 to No. 51 of The Edge series and all six of The Undertaker series. I own 28 (in no particular order)of the Adam Steele books and the first 2 of the 3 Edge and Steele books, all of which i haven’t read yet, but will do once i get more of the Steele books in order.

    Anyway i was looking through fb to see if there was a tribute group to George G or Terry Harknett when i saw your piece on Seven Out Of Hell. Thought i’d write to say i enjoyed reading your view on the book and to say i reckon you are spot on with your appraisal.

    All the Best

    Gordon

  2. Hi Gordon,

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I was aware of the books when I was younger, but it’s only in the last year or so that I’ve got into them. Like you, I’ve been picking them up from eBay and have a decent amount of Edge books as well as a few of the Steele ones. They feel very much of their time, similar in their approach to British horror novels of the period which I also love.

    Thanks again! Olly

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