Friday, June 13, 2008

Ben Sufficool; DeRosso; Sangster

My thirty-two year old nephew saw a woman tumble into the flood and get caught up in a swift current. He got out of his car, dove in and rescued her. Thank you, Ben, for being such a brave guy.

-------Gorman westerns.
Mystery readers frequently ask me what my westerns are like. I've never found a satisfactory answer. Tonight my good friend James Reasoner reviews a novel by H.R. DeRosso. a man frequenrly referred to as The Cornell Woolrich of Westrns and mentions me in passing. I'm flattered. More he's helped me define my approach to writng westerns, which I still love.

"None of De Rosso’s heroes are actually very heroic, and Driscoll fits that mold. He’s a brooding, emotionally tormented man who’s sort of forced into doing the right thing most of the time. What he goes through in this book doesn’t make him any more cheerful, that’s for sure. The story takes place near a mountain range called the Sombras that figures in some of De Rosso’s other books. The name certainly fits because there’s a somber air that hangs over THE DARK BRAND. And the title itself is an indication of the mood here, of course. Actually, THE DARK BRAND is regarded as one of De Rosso’s less bleak books, which tells you how grim he can sometimes be.

"Fittingly, De Rosso writes in a spare, fast-moving style, and there are some excellent twists in the plot here, the sort that I should have seen coming but didn’t. His work has echoes of Cornell Woolrich and David Goodis, but what his books most remind me of are the noir Westerns of Ed Gorman. If you like any of those writers, I highly recommend that you pick up THE DARK BRAND or any of De Rosso’s other novels or short story collections."

----------Jimmy Sangster
Fred Blosser comments on my salute to Jimm Sangster the other night:

"Fans of Jimmy Sangster and Hammer should be aware that Sony this week released a four-movie DVD pack of early '60s Hammer swashbucklers, three of which were written by Sangster -- PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER, DEVIL SHIP PIRATES, TERROR OF THE TONGS. (You can just smell the pulpwood, can't you!) These have been rarely shown in the past 30+ years (last TV showing of BLOOD RIVER that I saw was 1971 or '72), and I don't think any of them have been on U.S. home video before. The cover packaging (under the title ICONS OF ADVENTURE) is horrendous, but the DVDs are the real deal: beautiful, sharp, and correct widescreen format. And only $25 list -- less if you order from Amazon,, Best Buy, etc. Sangster does audio commentary."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I like the work of all the writers James mentioned, including your own, Ed. "Spare, fast-moving style . . . excellent twists in plot". . . these characteristics are in my opinion the exact requirements for today's Black Horse Westerns, which are about the length of your 1990 short novel What the Dead Men Say, another work that meets James'description perfectly. As I mentioned just this week in an email to Steve Lewis, of Mystery*File, "Robert Hale Ltd [the BHW publishers] are one of the few companies who -- deliberately or inadvertently! -- continue to publish any fiction that approaches tenets once held dear. In particular, and probably coincidentally, the length is about that of the old Gold Medals and Ace Doubles and lends itself to the brisk, unpadded style of writing ideal for westerns and noir-ish thrillers."