Monday, December 03, 2012


Edward Mathis

I was at a Half Price today and found a Dan Roman private eye novel by Edward Mathis. After reading a few pages I bought both the Mathis novels there.

Mathis was the real thing--a fine writer with a slant and style all his own. He brought us a dusty tapped-out Texas I'd never encountered before.If he reminded me of anybody it was the proletariat novelists of the Forties and Fifties such as Harvey Swados and Clancy Sigal.

I'm looking forward to rereading him. He was a serious contender for the big prize.

Here are some comments from Kevin Burton Smith's excellent profile of him on Thrilling Detective:

Dan Roman
Created by Edward Mathis (1927-1988)

"... life was nothing more than a complicated mosaic of personal triumphs and tragedies, of chance encounters and random couplings and... we no more controlled our fate than the rabbit ruled the hound. The road was already there, the course charted; about the best we could do was give it a nudge once in a while, try our best to keep from crossing the center line."
(Dark Streaks)

Texas private eye DAN ROMAN was a little bit country, and a little bit Lew Archer, although he tends to lean toward the shitkicker side, referred to at one point as "mean enough to bite and tough enough to hold on." Still, he can also display plenty of compassion when the occasion warrants it.

Middle-aged, Dan favors cowboy boots, pickup trucks and deer hunting (although he no longer enjoys it quite as much as he used to). Besides his hunting rifles he owns a Smith and Wesson .38 airweight and a small .22 automatic.He also likes to read, smoke, and enjoy an occasional Jack Daniels or Scotch. He also drinks a lot of beer , particularly Miller, although he claims he doesn't really like it all that much since, as he declares in Dark Streets and Empty Places, "it all tastes like bear piss anyway."

Hmmm... maybe he should switch brands...

There's a dark quality to the series, helped along considerably by the ongoing tragedy that seems to follow Dan along. An only child, he was born to strict religious parents who weren't particularly loving. So perhaps it's no surprise that he spent a lot of time with the cowboys on the working ranch he grew up on rather than his own parents. Still, he spent the summer he turned fourteen (the "best summer of his life") helping his father build a hunting cabin. It was then he discovered that his father was a secret drinker -- a secret that was revealed to one and all a few years later, during Dan's last year of high school, when his mother passed away and his father hit the bottle hard.

for the rest go here


mybillcrider said...

Mathis left us way too young. He had trouble sleeping, so he'd write. I believe it was his daughter who discovered a dresser drawer full of manuscripts and encouraged him to send them to an editor. What he didn't sell during his lifetime, his wife sold later.

Mathew Paust said...


Unknown said...

Edward Mathis was a fine writer as well as an amazing Grandfather. And yes a majority of his books were published after his passing, thanks to the efforts of my mother and grandmother.
It's great to hear that some of his writings are still in circulation, nearly 25 years after his death.
My mother has picked up where he left off and has written a few of her own mystery novels, which are on Amazon, under JD Davis.

Appreciate the kind words,

Casey Davis