RARA-AVIS: Re: westerns

From: mantanhattan (mantanhattan@yahoo.com)
Date: 13 Nov 2010

  • Next message: James Michael Rogers: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: westerns"

    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, sonny <sforstater@...> wrote:
    > http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-11-10/cormac-mccarthy-vs-larry-mcmurtry-best-western-novelist/full/
    > the article linked above was interesting to me, but not so much for the specific "blood meridian"/cormac mccarthy vs. "lonesome dove"/larry mcmurtry as for a catalyst to wondering about western noir and/or hardboiled fiction.
    > the article mentions pete dexter and daniel woodrell. have westerns been talked about here much?

    Long time lurker here. This might be my first contribution - I can't recall. At any rate, apologies in advance for the following long-winded response.

    I too am a fan of Loren D. Estleman's westerns. Sort of got into his "Page Murdock" series by accident (while they're not particularly hardboiled they are loads of fun) and eventually stumbled upon one of Estleman's especially hard-edged little numbers: THE MASTER EXECUTIONER - a personal favorite and highly recommended.

    While I've always been a big fan of Elmore Leonard's westerns, I'd never previously been able to get into all that many other western authors. With the exception of the aforementioned Larry McMurtry, Pete Dexter and: Ron Hansen- DESPERADOES and THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD
      Bill Crider (who has also written some fine westerns) was kind enough to point me in the direction of a couple of Richard Wormser titles after I'd emailed an inquiry to him on this topic quite a while ago. Specifically, ON THE PROD and DOUBLE DECKER -both published by Gold Medal in the 60s but easy to find on eBay or used books sites. Both novels are unforgettable. ON THE PROD might be Wormser's quirkiest work.

    More recently I've been sampling a few other authors' westerns. Frank Gruber's westerns are excellent. I went on a tear reading everything I could find by him earlier this year. I would recommend Gruber's BITTER SAGE to any fan of tough-guy fiction. However, I feel compelled to warn you that his stuff can get repetitive fast. Sometimes I'd have to double check to make sure I wasn't re-reading one of his titles I'd previously read.

    I happened to pick up a noirish title by Frank O'Rourke: LATIGO (Signet paperback). It's an outstanding crime/suspense thriller set in the Old West. Again -highly recommended. Unfortunately nothing else I've found by O'Rourke approaches LATIGO in quality.

    Then again -there are the always reliable Donald Hamilton and Harry Whittington westerns. And speaking of classic hardboiled authors who sometimes wrote westerns ...I recently found a copy of GUNS ALONG THE BRAZOS by Day Keene in a used book store. I wasn't even aware That Day Keene had written any westerns.

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