Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Two from James Reasoner

I'm a big admirer of James Reasoner. His professionalism, his work ethic, but most of all his amazing versatility, amaze me every time. He's mostly known as a writer of Westerns, but no genre is beyond him-- he's also written a handful of exceptional Noirs, some war stories, and all manner of fine pulp. 

Here's two shorts from him that I read recently and just serve to reinforce that.

"Devil Wings Over France" proves that you name the genre and Reasoner can show you how it's done.

This one is, nominally, an aviation adventure, in the spirit of those old pulp stories about air aces fighting the Huns. But Reasoner ups it a few notches by presenting a unique threat (rabid bats unleashed on the Allies by those filthy Huns), and even an almost throw-away supernatural element that I won't spoil for you.

The pacing is pitch-perfect, and if you've read Reasoner before you know he can spin an action sequence like nobody's business.

In "The Red Reef", a former sea captain, tormented by a horrible accident, gets a shot at redemption when a sultry babe begs him to take her to the site of the accident-- where her father supposedly lies in his watery grave. But the babe has more than grief on her mind, and our hero finds himself in a deadly game of survival on the high seas.

Another old school style pulp story, this one is lean, tough-minded, and without a trace of sentiment. It's a short, sharp jolt of action and high adventure.

Both of these are available on Amazon. If you've never read Reasoner before, they make a great introduction to his work. I'm currently reading his novel TRACTOR GIRL; some others that really knocked me out were REDEMPTION, KANSAS; DUST DEVILS and TEXAS RANGERS. 


  1. I've been reading Reasoner's trio of Texas Ranger novellas and they are top notch.

  2. I just finished Devil Wings Over France and loved it. James rules!