Book Review: Jelly Bryce: The Legend Begins (Conti, 2014)

Firearms trainer Mike Conti has written a three-book fictionalized history of the life of famous FBI agent and gunfighter Jelly Bryce. “The Legend Begins” is book 1 of that series.

Bryce was an influential figure in the history of shooting training. His techniques became the core of FBI firearms training, which were taught to law enforcement officers for more than 40 years. I wrote about the 1940’s FBI firearms qualification course of fire in this Historical Handgun class after action report.

Bryce had exceptional vision and dry fired constantly, giving him the ability to hip shoot and point shoot with accuracy and speed far better than an average-sighted person less motivated to practice and dry fire as much as Bryce did.

The first book in this series covers Bryce’s early years: childhood and development as a shooter, joining an Oklahoma police department after winning a cop-only pistol match, his first gunfights, his career as an Oklahoma cop and transfer to J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI.

Conti’s approach was not to recite dry facts, but to write the story like a novel. All the incidents occur as they did in real life, but with his fictionalized dialog and descriptions of the action. It’s a fun read purely as a gangster-era police tale, even more fun as a way to learn Bryce’s history. I just started book 2 of the series, and will write another review when I finish books 2 and 3.

Highly recommended for all students of the gun, and anyone that likes a good pulpy action-filled cops and robbers tale.