"Branded Outlaw" was originally published in the October 1938 issue of Five-Novels Monthly
. It was written by L. Ron Hubbard at the height of the golden age
of pulps and as you can guess by the cover is a western.
When prodigal son Lee Weston returns home to the Pecos Valley, he finds his father has been murdered and the family homestead burned to the ground. Suspecting local money-man Harvey Dodge, Lee rides to the Dodge ranch to avenge his father. Along the way, he is wounded in a shootout and then miraculously nursed back to health by Dodge's daughter Ellen. Ellen tries to persuade Lee her father is innocent but Lee is determined to see justice is done. Meanwhile, after Dodge is left for dead by a partner, the attempted murder is pinned on Lee. Now Lee is on the run, desperate to clear his name and convince Ellen, who he's fallen in love with, that he is blameless.
The blurb on this novel claims "Hubbard appears to have possessed the flair of greats Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey", (The Sanford Herald
). That may be a bit of a stretch, but since this is the only L. Ron Hubbard novel I’ve read, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. He certainly was a competent writer, and though there aren't many surprises for the western fan, BRANDED OUTLAW is an entertaining tale.
This is a slim novel of only eighty pages, beautifully packaged with a handy-dandy glossary of western terms and a biography of Hubbard.
It’s piqued my interest in reading more by Hubbard who is primarily known today as the founder of Scientology.
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for more Friday's Forgotten Books.