Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dust Devils

James Reasoner has written one of the finest private detective novels of his generation, Texas Wind. In addition he's written several crime stories that deserve perpetual reprinting. But there have been long years between Texas Wind and his new one Dust Devils (Point Blank Press) so your first thought is was the wait worth it for the reader?

Dust Devils is an exemplary modern hardboiled novel with all the merits of the post-Tarrantino era but none of the flaws. It's difficult to talk about the plot without saying too much. Toby McCoy is on a quest but we don't realize that until Reasoner rips open the sky by revealing the nature of the quest. Reasoner lays down maybe 7500 words that reflect the dusty truths of rural life in hardscrabble Texas. There is tension, there is mystery, there is sex--and then Reasoner just shocks the hell out of you. There are three twists piled on top of the initial twist and then everything goes up for grabs.

The writing is as good as the tale. Reasoner obviously loves Texas, the land and the lore, and it is that sensibility that is reflected in the way the people and the land relate to each other. And gives the story the distinctive tone Reasoner sustains from opening paragrah to fade out.

Dust Devils is a very appropriate title for this book. The novel is packed full with both.


Randy Johnson said...

I recently read this one and it was everything you said in the introduction.

Randy Johnson said...

I meant Texas Wind. I've read Dust Devils also.

Cap'n Bob said...

I just finished D.D. today and loved it (except for the unfortunate cover, which may be one of the worst I've ever seen). I thought I'd guessed all of the plot twists, but James threw in some I didn't see coming. As I read, a voice in the back of my head kept saying, "The Gold Medal novel is alive and well."