Tiny Ryder

Created by Tiny Boyle & Hank Nuwer

Created by Tiny Boyle & Hank Nuwer

Okay, he looks more like one of those fat, hairy yahoos storming the U.S. Capitol, or maybe a character from Charlie Daniel’s “Uneasy Rider,” but TINY RYDER was the hero of The Bounty Hunter, an unlikely series of Men’s Adventure novels back in the 1980s.

Even more unlikely was that there actually was a fat, hairy bounty hunter named Tiny, except that in real life his last name was Boyles, not Ryder.

The series was inspired by a 1979 non-fiction piece in Oui, a porn mag, about the real-life William “Tiny” Boyles, an actual bounty hunter and skip tracer who wasn’t above stretching a fact or two to make for a better story.

Despite the fact he bore little resemblance to all those chiseled (and often shirtless) gun-toting Tarzans that adorned other Men’s Adventure books, a head-and-shoulders profile shot of the hirsute, presumably real-life Tiny graced the cover of each and every book, pretty much announcing that here was something a little different.

But not too different, of course…

Playboy Books (who also published paperbacks of Michael Collins’ far superior Dan Fortune series) had hired journalist Hank Nuwer to co-write a series of action novels with Boyles, purportedly based on his exploits, but anyone looking for any gritty verisimilitude might have been disappointed–this was pretty much standard Men’s Adventure fantasy.

Oh, sure, Ryder clocked in at 6’6″ and weighed 389 pounds or so, rode a Harley, sported a cowboy hat and a personal arsenal that included .45s, machine guns, magnums and big ass hunting knives (and of course, he wasn’t shy about using any of them). Tiny also relied on his “team”: Hammer, a giant who graces us with about one sentence of dialogue per book, and two of pals from his time in a Missouri orphanage: shitkicking C&W musician Jerry Jeffers and ambulance-chasing reporter Foster Foster.

So the books never strayed too far from Men’s Adventure DNA.

There were always lots of attractive women to rescue (and seduce, with or without consent), and plenty of drug dealers, crooked cops, bikers and other psychos to blow off the face of the Earth. Tiny supposedly works for a Los Angeles-based bondsman, Joey Hudson, but tracking down fugitives was mostly just a delivery system for the all-out blood and thunder expected of the genre.

Still, if you don’t mind some of the sleazier and downright brutal aspects (rape gets an awful lot of air time in this series), Nuwer does a pretty good job nailing the nastiness down, spending a little more time on character and dialogue than most books of this ilk, letting the plots breathe in between the scenes of sometimes vicious mayhem. The author also gets credit for introducing Tiny as a “criminal sack of fertilizer,” according to Trash Menace,” but eventually making him “charming enough to get away with it.”

Although “charm” isn’t quite the word I’d use.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hank Nuwer is an Indiana-based writer and journalist who has become something of an expert on hazing, His books include Hazing: Destroying Young LivesBroken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader, and he has written articles or columns on it for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper’s Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine

STRAIGHT FROM THE AUTHOR’S MOUTH

  • “Eventually I figured out that some of the bad guys (Tiny) claimed to have brought to justice were in fact creations and not real people.”
    — Hank Nuwer
  • “Every now and then I think about 100 percent rewriting those Bounty Hunter books, and putting those chauvinistic, foul-mouth characters into a work of literary detective fiction. That will never happen, of course.”
    — Hank Nuwer 

NOVELS

FURTHER INVESTIGATION

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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