COUNTRY MUSIC ROUNDUP 2001 - Pete Smith
TO HELL WITH THE BADGE - By Mel Hague
Mel Hague is one of the real pioneers of the British country music scene. He sings, he plays guitar, he writes songs and now he adopts the mantle of western novelist. It may seem strange that a Brit should write a cowboy yarn; strange but not unusual. One of the world's best-selling cowboy novelists, J T Edson was a Brit, from Leicester, I believe.
Although no expert myself on western novels, I think Mel is on to a winner with his hero Sheriff Jud Harris and I further think we are going to have quite a few more of his adventures. Hague beautifully captures the rugged environment and the savagery that must have been the 'old west' and with his tight plot keeps the reader riveted until the book is finished.
THE ENTERTAINER June 2001, THE SOUTH YORKSHIRE TIMES, June 2001 and THE MEXBROUGH and DISTRICT LEADER July 2001
Linda Waslidge -
TO HELL WITH THE BADGE by Mel Hague
People rather than cattle are the target for rustlers featuring in this western. Slavery isn't normally touched on in such literary - or for that matter cinematic offerings of this kind and the Wild West in this first book by Doncaster author Mel Hague, comes over as a lot wilder than the usual bad-guy-bites-the-dust sagas.
His laid-back and brooding character, Jud Harris and posse of stalwarts, take on a hunt for a bandit gang, on the way exploring the horror, violence and stark tragedy of a trade in human misery. there's also a look at the resulting relationships in an alternative creation of a familiar scenario.
Sounds a bit heavy? Don't worry, there's also a certain amount of laconic humour thrown in for good measure.
If the author's name seems familiar, then that's probably because it's the same Mel Hague who has been known for his clubland and radio performances and recordings and the popular Country Rockin' columns in the Entertainer.
An often near-to-the-knuckle - as well as knuckle-biting read - the narrative develops at a cracking pace throughout the 151-page paperback now available from the author via email or his website.
LETTERS FROM READERS
Aubrey Collishaw from Lincolnshire
I'm writing to thank you so very much sending the two westerns to me. I am truthfully going to say what I think of them. The first one (TO HELL WITH THE BADGE), was a little slow starting but when it got going, YES! It was good. I really liked the second one (DEATH ON A ROPE) and I think you've done great. I think it's brilliant that you are so talented. My sister Mary was so good to think of me and ask about your books, she is besotted with your singing. All power to your elbow. All the best - Aubrey.
K. Grimes of Edlington, Doncaster
Dear Mr. Hague: - I very much enjoyed the two books you have written, TO HELL WITH THE BADGE and DEATH ON A ROPE and I wonder if there is to be anymore. If so could you please send details of where I might purchase copies of and future books about Jud Harris.
Yours faithfully - K Grimes
John Gale - Newark, Nottingham
Having read Mel Hague's two novels, TO HELL WITH THE BADGE and DEATH ON A ROPE I can hardly wait to read his future westerns featuring Sheriff Jud Harris and his deputies. Mel has created a tough, believable bunch of law-enforcers. Tough enough to give and take whatever was necessary to get the job done, yet honest enough to demand the respect of the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Well done, Mel, and keep 'em coming and keep 'em rough and tough. - John Gale
Jeff Whitworth, Worksop, Nottingham
Dear Mel: Just thought I would like to let you know how much I enjoyed reading the two coyboy books you wrote. The stories were well written and thought out and once I started to read I found it hard to put down until I found how it ended.
Here's hoping you write another book in the near future which I shall look forward to reading.
Yours faithfully - Jeff Whitworth
Eddie Ramsdale, Forest Town, Mansfield, Nottingham
Hi Mel: After reading TOHELL WITH THE BADGE and DEATH ON A ROPE I am eagerly awaiting more of your novels about Jud Harris's further exploits which I found difficult to put down once started. I hope more are in the pipeline. Sincerely - Eddie Ramsdale