Friday, December 29, 2006

Elizabeth Fackler and Bone Justice

Elizabeth Fackler has been publishing novels since the early Eighties. Her career has been divided between crime and western fiction. She is equally at home and equally exceptional in both forms.

The latest Fackler is called Bone Justice and continues her Seth Strummer western series with a storyline that is in equal parts horrific and romantic. Fackler's crime fiction has always been celebrated for its low-key but hardboiled drama. Her careful and evocative prose depicts the outlaw Strummer trying to figure out if his partner has turned into a man who deals women. In the course of the book we get to know the life stories of three different women who, while true to the era in which they're alive, also hold signifance for today, especially in the way Fackler demonstrates the violence they have to endure. Fackler tops herself here by setting the youngest woman on an unspoken spriitual quest--and a beleivable one--that will redeem a broken life.

There are so many fine writers who deserve more notice and acclaim than they deserve. For me, Elizabeth Fackler is right at the top of that list. She has a unique approach to the novel and speaks in a voice all her own.

Arson (1984)
Barbed Wire (1986)
Blood Kin (1992)
Backtrail (1993)
Road from Betrayal (1994)
Billy the Kid: The Legend of El Chivato (1995)
Badlands (1996)
Texas Lily (1997)
Breaking Even (1998)
Patricide (2000)
When Kindness Fails (2004)
Endless River (2005)

Arson and Barbed Wire are two of the toughest-minded small-town novels I've ever read. They deserve serious rediscovery as major pieces of crime fiction. The same can be said for all her westerns, most of which are now out of print. in both genres she does the same thing, takes familiar elements and makes them seem startling and new through the dazzle of her prose and the humanity of her forgiving gaze.

You can learn more about Elizabeth here.

No comments: