RARA-AVIS: Re: Hardboiled Westerns-Best Sheriff (was "cowboy vs private eye")

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 12 Jul 2009

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    On Jul 12, 2009, at 2:28 AM, rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com wrote:

    > I'd like to add another question to Shannon's if I could.
    > I'm reading more westerns these days than I ever have before, and
    > while the best are great stuff, I find that all too often much of
    > what I read just doesn't stick with me.
    > What I'm looking for in a western are the virtues of classic
    > hardboiled fiction-- swift pacing, abrupt plot twists, sharp
    > dialogue, convincing action, and lean, clear prose.
    > Noir elements are fine, but I'm actually more hungry for westerns
    > that can bring the hardboiled style convincingly. Maybe my
    > standards are too high or maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places.
    > Any suggestions?

    The books featuring U.S. Marshall and later gun-for-hire Oscar Schiller by Douglas C. Jones. They're pretty hard-boiled and seedy enough to wash that Gene Autry cowboy taste away. I've got an entry on at http://www.thrillingdetective.com/schiller.html but in brief, at the time I wrote it I likened one of the books to "a cross between Larry McMurty's Lonesome Dove and James Crumley's later novels."

    I mean, you gotta love a guy whose measured, considered idea of guarding a suspect is: "If he farts, kill him."

    Kevin Burton Smith Editor/Founder The Thrilling Detective Web Site
    "Wasting your time on the web since 1998."

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