RARA-AVIS: A Late Runaway Train

Reed Andrus (randrus@home.com)
Sat, 24 Jul 1999 07:02:06 -0700

> jane asked:
> >Just a thought apropos of a throwaway line in my last message about costume
> >dramas,which started one of those 3am train of thoughts, is there any truly
> >hardboiled historical fiction, by which I mean written contemporarily, about
> >pre 20th century.
> I'm sure a lot of others will jump in with suggestions, but much of Elmore
> Leonad's early work, both novels and short stories, set in the last century
> in the American West, is about as hardboiled as they come. The recent
> collection of short stories, THE TONTO WOMAN, and the novel, HOMBRE, are
> both worth checking out.
> In fact, I bet Elmore could rewrite one of his old "cowboy" books as a
> modern crime thing with minimal effort. All that really changed was the
> setting.
> Kevin Burton Smith

Sorry for jumping in late to this thread. Been traveling and just returned to check messages.

I would add Frederick Busch's THE NIGHT INSPECTOR to this list. It's very hard, very noir, set in 1867 New York. The protagonist is a hardboiled (though educated and philosophical) Civil War veteran who's riddled with memories about his experiences as a sniper (Bob the Nailer's great-grandad). Highly recommended.

... Reed

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