March 2012
The Writing of Old Guns
Lance Howard
Western Villains

December 2011
New authors
Mike Stotter ebooks

September 2011
Real/Reel Cowboys
Ebooks debate
Serenade for Misfit Lil

June 2011
Lessons from True Grit
Tha Ballad of Jack Martin
Ross Morton beginnings
ABC of Branding

March 2011
Trouble with Misfit Lil
Horse Opera Renaissance
Fargo Creator's Pattern

December 2010
Books for Writers
Read by Jake Douglas
The Talking Wire

September 2010
Joshua Dillard
Paperback Blues
Remington Part 3

June 2010
Imagination in the Saddle
Last word on Blurbs
Remington Part 2

March 2010
Jack Martin  #2
Justice and the Western
Frederic Remington

December 2009
Ross Morton
Faith and a Fast Gun
Sex and Violence
Gold Robbery Mystery

September 2009
Steve Hayes
BHE Books
Paul Lederer
Accurate words

June 2009
Jack Martin
Series Heroes
Riding the Range

March 2009
Blast to Oblivion
Tyler Hatch and Twins
Night Herding
Walt Masterson

December 2008
All Guns Blazing
Jim Bowden & Co.
Revolver Conversions

September 2008
Western Noir
Power of the Premise
West on Wheels

June 2008
Plot or Not Debate
Jack Giles
Whitney Revolver

March 2008
Walt Masterson
Plotters and Pantsers
More Horse Talk

December 2007
Peace at Any Price
Dan Claymaker
Horse Sense

(For links to  editions March 2006 to September 2007,  please go via December 2011)

Black Horse Extra appeared as a quarterly online magazine for six years from March 2006. It promoted the western genre and the work of authors published by Robert Hale Ltd in the Black Horse Western series of hardback novels sold mainly to the UK public lending libraries. Today, most of the active authors run personal blogs and websites. Links to some can be found lower in the column to the right, while past editions of Black Horse Extra can be accessed using the links to the left.

In December 2015 Robert Hale Ltd ceased operations, stopped trading, and has been described since as "inactive". Companies House, a UK Government body, reported the Hale publishing house was dissolved on 5 December 2017 with last accounts made up to 30 June 2015. The Hale imprint "Black Horse Westerns" passed to a small press, The Crowood Press, based in rural Wiltshire. In November 2020 this company, which claims to be "unable to ship to customers outside the UK", announced Black Horse Westerns were no longer viable. Back catalogue titles were available while stocks lasted. Today, Crowood does not publish or list any fiction.

Happily readers can still purchase modestly priced ebooks by former BHW writers online. These are published in digital formats by several companies, including Piccadilly Publishing and our own Black Horse Extra Books. Excerpts can be read (and the books conveniently downloaded) at leading ebook retailers like Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

"I am a big fan of the Black Horse Westerns line and have read two of your [Chap O'Keefe] books as eBooks.  They were excellent!  I'm looking forward to reading more…"
Austin Kaiser, PhD, Department of History,
 University of Oregon

While Silver Vein's cheering citizens watch Misfit Lil confirm her reputation as “Princess of Pistoleers” in a gala shooting match, Yuma Nat Hawkins and his gang rob the bank in the near-empty town, gunning down the feeble opposition in cold blood.

Patrick “Preacher” Kilkieran, a visitor at the hotel, witnesses the robbery but makes no move to interfere. He soon adds more crimes to his record, striking a mysterious deal with a renegade Indian and committing a brutal assault on Lil Goodnight's pretty waitress friend, Estelle, before disappearing into the wilderness.

Lil vows retribution. She knows tracking down Kilkieran will be no easy job, but she’s going to give it one hell of a try!

"Misfit Lil . . .  What a terrific name for a character, eh? This book belongs to an endangered species: the Western. As for the story: totally professional, as you would expect, and a lot of fun. The author  knows how to do the job. Ms Lil has appeared before, and doubtless will again."– Grumpy Old Bookman (Guardian Top 10 blogger)

Find the ebook at Smashwords or other retailer HERE

Kyle Hardy was the drifting kind, and looked it. A saddle-bum folk reckoned when he rode into Sweetwater Valley. But he came with a job to do. And before he could act, guns blazed on Main Street and Kyle was pitched into a bitter conflict.

On one side was Big Bart Brannigan, cattle baron and ruthless land grabber; on the other, pretty young Verity Tyler, courageously standing by her disabled rancher father.

In one tempestuous night, Kyle was framed for murder and faced a crazed lynch mob — and the whole hellish set-up came to an explosive climax!

Find the ebook at Smashwords or other retailer HERE

The rebel is Tom Tolley, ex-Confederate fighter in the bloody Civil War. Returning home to the family farm in the wilds of Arizona, he expects the enmity and the killing to be over. Instead he is met with flying lead!

The heiress is Mary-Ann, indulged only child of millionaire Huey J. Charters. Will her willfulness and fondness for pranks be her downfall, or can they be turned into a feisty courage as events take a gruesome turn?

Sparks fly when Tom, dispossessed of his farm, meets the impish heiress. He is landless — worse, an unforgiven grayback for whom there is no pardon in the untamed country he calls his home. But the pair are thrown together against a hostile town, a scheming murderer, and the mysterious Jed Carbone, a pitiful drunk who knows more than he's saying …

"You're hurting, Tom, I can tell," Mary-Ann tells Tom when they are held captive by four ruthless rogues possessed by gold fever. "We've got to get away from this pack of maniacs. We must!"

"It wouldn't work," he mutters. "We both know it. It wouldn't work …"

The best of the West loaded with five-star suspense, adventure, romance, action, thrills!

Find the ebook at Smashwords or other retailer HERE

Will Kearny reckons he has a job for working life, ramrodding iron-willed Pete Thwaites' Rocking T outfit. But after winning a bruising fight with the brutish troublemaker “Bull” Jusserand, Kearny is dealt an inexplicable blow.

Old Pete abruptly quits the struggle for survival and sells out to his sworn enemy — Jusserand's boss, the range hog Franz Sturman, ruthless and immoral owner of the Arrowhead spread.

Mystery deepens when Seabury Reece, Sturman's tricky lawyer, traps Kearny into riding herd over a “cargo of brides” from back East. What is the secret of lovely Christine Smith, the sad-eyed, odd girl out among what proves to be a hell-raising bevy of fallen women?

Before Kearny finds the answers, he has to make room in his full hands for a roaring six-shooter!

"O'Keefe pens another entertaining page-turner full of winning characters … Running alongside the scheming around Rawhide Fork was the story of Christine Smith who had lived in New Mexico until age 10 when her mother left her father and she and her mother made passage to New York. Nine years later, her mother having passed away, the pure, indebted, seemingly helpless Miss Smith was still in New York finding it impossible to make ends meet. She responded to an advert from Rawhide Fork looking for women hoping that this would give her free passage to be reunited with her father. It's the slightly delicate Miss Smith and Kearney's urge to protect her that makes this story so appealing."—Amazon US reviewer M. J. Bradley

Find the ebook at Smashwords or other retailer  HERE

Ex-Pinkerton detective Joshua Dillard, gun for hire, took on the job of troubleshooter for a French theater company touring the West. Just routine bodyguarding, he supposed … till he met the amazing Gisèle Bourdette, a publicity-hungry superstar ahead of her time, choking the 1880s New World puritans on their censorious piety.

Joshua committed the blunder of intimate liaison with an eager Gisèle, falling foul of her leading man and lover, Henri Rabier-Roget — a talentless hunk scourged by jealousy and the morphine habit.

Meanwhile, ruthless Borderland bandit “Loco Louey” Velarde was after the actress' unbanked takings, transported at her quaint insistence in gold coins.

And sensitive Lorena, daughter of domineering rancher and cow-town opera house founder Bennett Maxwell, resisted an unwelcome suitor.

"Chap O’Keefe is a fine storyteller and keeps the action moving along at a very nice pace … Joshua Dillard’s adventures always play a bit like hardboiled detective yarns set in the Old West, and this one is no exception. The author throws in a number of plot twists and brings everything to a suitably rousing climax. I had a lot of fun reading THE GUNMAN AND THE ACTRESS, and if you’re a traditional Western fan, there’s a good chance you will, too. Recommended."—New York Times bestselling author James Reasoner

"Another enjoyable Western … Good writing, good characters, and lots of action."—Amazon US reviewer Norman Beaver

Find the ebook at Smashwords or other retailer  HERE

Sam Hammond was nudging fifty, conscious of his years and sometimes wondering just why he'd become a lawman in the first place. Then the troubles really began.

First, he narrowly escaped with his life after a moonlight gun battle with a trio of rustlers. Meanwhile, abrasive range detective Herb Hopkirk had ridden into town. Gun-handy, Hopkirk shot dead a rash cowpoke, crippled Sam's young deputy, Clint Freeman, and pestered Miss Sarah, pretty daughter of rancher John Snyder.

A man-hungry widow and a bunch of newspaper cuttings about a mysterious bank robber dubbed Dick Slick added to Sam's headaches. Was it time for him to quit the peace-officer business before he wound up dead?

BONUS FEATURE: "Can a Black Horse Be Noir?"

"When it comes to popular fiction, Keith Chapman is something of a treasure … beyond that he’s a writer and editor whose career stretches back 60-some-odd years, to the days of Sexton Blake and EDGAR WALLACE MYSTERY MAGAZINE, of which he was the founding editor. Over the years he has also been a prolific author of fine Western novels under the pseudonym Chap O’Keefe, many of them published originally as Black Horse Westerns by Robert Hale. The good news for Western readers is that quite a few of those novels are available again as e-books, and more are in the works … As you’d expect from his background, Chapman is an excellent yarn-spinner and storyteller. He writes books that are just plain fun to read, and A GUNFIGHT TOO MANY is no exception. The action moves along at a good pace and Sam Hammond is a really likable protagonist. The villains are properly despicable, as they need to be in a book like this. I had a fine time reading this novel and think most traditional Western fans would agree … Keith Chapman is working in a legendary tradition." — New York Times bestselling author James Reasoner

Find the ebook at Smashwords or other retailer HERE

In Denver, a shotgun blast brutally ends a man’s life and sets in motion a deadly chain of events that threatens Joshua Dillard, drifting detective and former Pinkerton agent. Hired by a beautiful woman to untangle the mystery of her brother’s murder and bring the killer to justice, Joshua’s investigation takes him to the raw and dangerous mining town of Silverville, where he finds a web of deception, greed, lust, and violence. Aided only by an eccentric hermit, Joshua will need all his cunning and gun-skill to avoid being blasted to oblivion himself!

Inspired by the classic Sherlock Holmes novel The Valley of Fear, veteran Western author Chap O’Keefe spins another exciting tale filled with action and plot twists galore.

“Mr O’Keefe has reworked the plot of a Sherlock Holmes story as an exploit of his ex-Pinkerton protagonist Joshua Dillard. The result is clever, atmospheric and exciting.”  – The Sherlock Holmes Society of London

“The story opens with an epigraph from The Valley of Fear, and with good reason: the book is a western, with plenty of color and atmosphere and violence, and a mystery that will not be a surprise to those who have read and remember Conan Doyle’s story.” – Peter E. Blau, the Baker Street Irregulars, New York

A Kindle ebook available from Amazon HERE

A band of Apache bucks led by a charismatic hothead abandons reservation life to go on a bloody rampage. In pursuit with Lieutenant Michael Covington’s cavalry detail is civilian scout Jackson Farraday. But a showdown looms between the pair when Jackson is misled by Lilian Goodnight, a harum-scarum youngster who boasts the handle “Misfit Lil, Princess of Pistoleers.” After a clash with the Apaches and the slaughter of an Army paymaster and his escort, Jackson is fired. But his troubles are only just beginning when he’s framed for murder by crooked Sheriff “Wheezer” Skene. Can Misfit Lil make amends by saving her reluctant hero?

BONUS FEATURE: Heroines of the Wilder West

“A fast-paced book that relates the adventures of independent-minded, tough cowgirl Lilian Goodnight. Lil is a fine horsewoman, expert at roping calves and driving cows and is an excellent shot with a pistol, too. Apparently, she can also out-cuss her father’s ranch-hands.... Most enjoyable and recommended.” — Nik Morton, author of Write a Western in 30 Days

A Kindle ebook available from Amazon

Drift Garrity followed a grueling cowboy life. Working the grub line, poorly fed and without prospects, he determined to unravel the mysteries of the deprived past that had made him what he was. His objective brought him within a trigger-squeeze of death from Mad Dungaree Dan, a reclusive ex-miner who lived in a mountain ghost town where he kept captive his two beautiful daughters, Melissa and Isabella. Also to be tackled was Zack Emmett, vicious range boss and one-time gunfighter. The trail would lead Drift to dirty tricks, accusations, and finally to deadly gunplay amongst the ghost town ruins.

“Highly recommended as an old-fashioned western thriller for fans everywhere.” – Midwest Book Review

A Kindle ebook available from Amazon HERE

"One of my favorite characters in current Western fiction, Chap O'Keefe's freelance range detective Joshua Dillard, returns in a novel originally published by Robert Hale in 2005. It's now available in an inexpensive ebook edition and is well worth reading.

"This novel delves into Joshua's past, flashing back to his days as a Pinkerton operative when he was sent to a mining boom-town in Montana to corral a gang of outlaws operating in the area. While he's tackling that job, he gets mixed up in the schemes of a beautiful saloon entertainer and is unable to prevent a deadly saloon robbery. The loot vanishes, and so does the songbird.

"Years later, after personal tragedy has led him to quit the Pinkertons and embark on a hardscrabble life as a drifting troubleshooter, Joshua returns to that same Montana town, which is still plagued with lawlessness. This time he's hired as the local marshal, and a daring stagecoach robbery is the first act in a chain of events that might give Joshua a chance to redeem himself for his earlier failure—if he can survive a hail of outlaw lead.

"As usual, Chap O'Keefe (who is really Keith Chapman) throws in some nice plot twists and packs the yarn he's spinning with plenty of gritty action. The pace never falters, and The Lawman and the Songbird delivers top-notch Western entertainment. Highly recommended, as are all of Keith's books."  James Reasoner at Rough Edges

"Can't go wrong with Keith. Glad to hear this is out in ebook form."  David Cranmer
"Cool. Gonna go have a look at this." Charles Gramlich

"I think I’m right in saying this is the fifth book in Chap O’Keefe’s nine-book series about Joshua Dillard, but you don’t have to have read any of the previous tales to fully enjoy this one. In this story Dillard has more than met his match in Kate Thompson, who makes for a very strong female lead character who seems to be one step ahead of everyone else. Having said that the robbery she masterminds doesn’t quite go according to plan and the chase is on.

"Chap O’Keefe once more presents the reader with a fast- paced book filled with action and a twisting storyline. Never was it obvious how this tale would end and the conclusion does come as a fitting surprise. As with all of Chap O’Keefe’s books I’ve read this one left me eager for more. If you’ve not read one of his books yet, then may I suggest this as an excellent introduction to his extremely readable writing." Steve M at Western Fiction Review

A Kindle ebook available from Amazon HERE


"Jim Hunter and Matt Harrison are best friends and the owners of the once-thriving Double H ranch in Trinity Creek, Texas. Their cowpunchers have heeded the call of the Civil War and now they are trying to keep the enterprise afloat in lean times. It does not help that the Double H’s cattle is a frequent target for rustlers and that the sole remaining member of their crew is disabled Mexican-American War veteran Walter Burridge.

"When the raiders take their pillaging a step further and burn the ranch to the ground, killing Old Walt in the process, the partners have no option but to leave the area and look for a job in the nearby port city of Brownsville. Matt and Jim soon realize that the war has also exerted its toll on the once-busy border town as work is hard to come by. Matt, a Union sympathizer, joins the Northern Army while the pro-Confederacy Jim chooses to stick around. He soon hooks up with the sensuous Lena-Marie Baptiste and her brother Raoul whom, among other business ventures, smuggle guns for the southern forces.

"Peace at Any Price by Chap O'Keefe is the quintessential action-packed Western .... Sparsely written and at times frantically-paced, it introduces the characters with a few broad strokes and then wastes no time in pitting them against all sorts of challenges. Jim returns from the war but the Double H and Trinity Creek no longer feel like home, not in the least because his former darling Alice Cornhill has married someone else in the interim. Fate leads him right back to the Baptistes, their dubious business concerns and a face-to-face encounter with the ruthless Woodson Waldrop, the man he suspects burnt down the Double H.

"In this age of bloated techno-thrillers and three-page chapters designed not to upset MTV-addled attention spans, Peace at Any Price is a refreshing story that delivers genuine, non-stop entertainment ... highly recommended."
Saddlebums Western Review

A Kindle ebook available from Amazon HERE

OR depending on country of residence and other factors, the Smashwords edition HERE may be a preferable option.


San Francisco  was hot. Too hot for troubleshooter Joshua Dillard after a vice lord drew a gun on him in a ritzy Russian Hill parlor house and he was obliged to blast him down with his Peacemaker. So Joshua brought forward a railroad trip to the wilds of Colorado where he had a job lined up for him by a mysterious Leigh Jordan, of New York City. In Colorado he was soon embroiled in more bloody mayhem, this time with hostile  attorney Walt Sloane and his thugs. Enter a femme fatale needing his unorthodox services, take a ride into the rugged foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and Joshua was soon neck-deep in deception, deviancy, and murderous gunfire. The facts that emerged concerning an abusive father, his adopted daughter, and a contestable Manhattan inheritance fell into place to tell an ugly story...

"Western gold. The Archive urges readers to support the creative community by paying the meagre price for the book ... we can guarantee you a damn good read. O'Keefe is a master of the genre." – Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin at the Tainted Archive

"Joshua has to put it all together, survive several murder attempts, and help a young woman stuck in the middle. As always, author Chap O'Keefe gives us a fast-moving western tale and a satisfying read." – Randy Johnson at Not the Baseball Pitcher

A Kindle eBook available from Amazon HERE

Where was Emily Greatheart? The pretty young lady from Denver had gone to Arizona to meet her dead fiancé's mother and vanished. Only a bloodstained jacket was found in an abandoned spring buggy hired from the Pike's Crossing livery stable. Emily was the daughter of Big Jack Greatheart, ex-marshal and one-time tamer of brawling boom-towns. But Big Jack lay in his bed in Colorado, frustratingly crippled by arthritis and a skeleton of his former self. So he called on ex-Pinkerton detective Joshua Dillard. Joshua followed a cold trail and hot impulses into battle against ambitious cattleman Bart Waller and his gun-handy, womanizing son, Vincent. No wonder he was soon up to his reckless neck in two-fisted, lead-slinging trouble!

"As usual, Chap O'Keefe (who's really veteran author and editor Keith Chapman, as most of you already know) spins this tale in terse, no-nonsense prose and skillfully throws in enough plot twists to keep things racing along to a powerful climax. Joshua Dillard is a fine character, a dogged investigator who's plenty tough when he needs to be, and his own tragic background adds a touch of poignancy to his adventures. I've probably said this before, but fifty years ago these books would have made good Gold Medal paperbacks or Double D hardbacks. James Reasoner

"I always enjoy a skillfully written cross-genre novel. Chap O'Keefe'sSons and Gunslicks is a Western/Mystery that manages to hit the right notes in both genres.... Dillard himself is a great character, almost a frontier Mike Hammer, who doesn't take crap off anyone and isn't above beating up thugs for information when ratiocination fails. He's also a standup guy who's looking out for those who can't look after themselves, the classic tough/tender sleuth in a Stetson and duster. – Charles Rutledge

A Kindle eBook available from Amazon  HERE.

Paid to mind other folks’ business, Joshua Dillard did it with a .45 Colt Peacemaker. But he also had a mission of his own, and when Butch Simich and his bunch stuck up the stage from Tucson he swung into vengeful action. Stirring it along came Dorothy-May Pennydale, spirited daughter of a whiskey-soaked way station boss. And in the thick of it from the start was Clement P. Conway from New York City, hack writer of dime novels – a greenhorn with guts plunging out of his depth. The fight led into treacherous territory, up against rogue marshal Virgil Lyons and saloonkeeper Dice Sanders, whose greed for women and money produced mayhem ... and the most violent gun battle the one-horse town of Hellyer’s Creek had ever seen!

"Chap O’Keefe has assembled a terrific set of characters for this Joshua Dillard novel that begins with a stagecoach robbery and then never lets up with action until the end ... Dillard isn’t above making mistakes, and after being captured by the stage robbers he’s left in a 'how’s he going to get out of this situation?' that will keep any reader turning the pages to discover the answer. Shootout at Hellyer’s Creek should appeal to all those who enjoy traditional westerns filled with non-stop action, and at just under $3.00 / £2.00 how can you afford not to give this a try? Steve M at Western Fiction Review

A Kindle eBook available from Amazon HERE.

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