The Chinese Gunmen
by J.R. Roberts (read by Barry Campbell)
Speaking Volumes

The Chinese Gunmen is the second of J.R. Roberts’ 399 “Gunsmith” novels. That’s right: 399. The historical background is the 19th-century emigration of poor Chinese to America, tempted by the Californian gold rush: siblings Lee and Li Fong are two of the thousands who make the voyage. Lee doesn’t survive long. Series hero Clint Adams finds him hanged and decides to care for the body. “I’d regret that decision soon enough,” he notes. The chief source of regret is Himself, a Lee Van Cleef baddie whose dark past twines with Adams’ own and whose present is spent hating the “orientals”. Roberts’ depiction of his Chinese cast is sympathetic if rudimentary. Cue sultry Li, who quickly wraps Adams in her bedroll. Barry Campbell’s tobacco-soaked rumble makes it all seem like good, unclean fun.