Guns of Justice History

Guns of Justice was close to completion in December 1965 but, along with Gringo Gold, which had been submitted in November 1965, it was not destined not to see the light of day until the 1980s. After Alamosa Guns had been accepted for publication Muller made it clear that it was not in the market for further westerns and was shutting down its Sombrero Westerns imprint. Jones submitted both books to Curtis Brown in any case to see if they could place them with another publisher. However, Muller wasn’t alone in moving away from publishing westerns by UK authors.

Once it was obvious that the UK market for UK–written westerns was well and truly over, Jones stopped writing seriously until his retirement in 1978. At that point he dusted off both Guns of Justice and Gringo Gold and submitted them to John Hale, Mills & Boon and Barrie & Jenkins (Mills & Boon declined on the grounds that they no longer published westerns). Hale returned the manuscript in March stating that it was too long, though they did not reject it outright.

Jones obviously didn’t want to cut the word count and in early 1979 sent the manuscript (along with Gringo Gold) to his old agency, Curtis Brown to see if it could find a publisher for both books in unedited form. The agency either had a good filing system, that or it recognised the titles, and declined to submit the books to publishers.

Jones eventually gave in to the inevitable and reduced the word count to 45,000 before resubmitting the manuscript to Hale. Hale offered a contract for £75 for one edition of not more than 1,500 hardback copies on 21 November 1979. Jones accepted and returned the contract on 2 December, on arrival of which Hale asked for first refusal on the next two books. Guns of Justice was published 23 October 1980.