Sunday, May 1, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

While limping along without a computer, I've at least managed to read a handful of very good books these last couple of weeks. Pike, by Benjamin Whitmer, was a spot-on, nasty little peice of noir with beautifully sleazy characters, excellent pacing, and not a trace of sentimentality. If you want a good example of how powerful modern noir can be, Pike is one you really need to read.

But mostly I've been delving into the Western genre. I have this idea for a novel floating around in my head, one that would probably only work as a Western, but up until now I've never read a Western. I thought it would be a good idea to get more familiar with the genre for that reason.

Cullen Gallagher of Pulp Serande recommended a handful of Westerns for me, but typically I couldn't find a single one of them. So instead I hit the used book store and made some semi-random selections-- a bunch of books by Western writers I'd at least HEARD of. A Louis L'Amour, a Max Brand, a Zane Grey, etc... plus modern selections by Elmore Leonard, Loren Estleman, and James Reasoner.

So far, I've read the Elmore Leonard (Valdez is Coming), and it was, not surprisingly, terrific. I'm reading the L'Amour now (The Burning Hills). Still too early to decide what I think.

I'm sort of surprised, actually, by the similarities in structure and story content between Westerns and the noirs I'm more familiar with. Valdez is Coming could easily have been a modern "small-town noir" without changing much.

Anyway, my next book looks to be moving along the lines of a Western, except minus all the heroics and what-not. I'm thinking I might write the world's first Psycho-Western.

Although Gil Brewer probably beat me to it.

Hopefully I'll have a computer again by the end of this week. Again, I appreciate everyone continuing to check in. I'll do my best to make it worth your while. In the meantime, tell all your friends about The Bastard Hand, okay? Sales have dropped since I haven't been around to promote it.

That's all for now, comrades.


  1. If I ever come across another cheap copy of Gil Brewer's "Some Must Die" I'll let you know!

  2. I think it's John McFetridge at Do Some Damage who was hailing Elmore Leonard as one of the greatest noir writers. Interesting guy that McFetridge. Don't forget Ten Rules To Write Noir! Got Paul Brazill & Christa Faust over the next two weeks, it would build some nice momentum for you.