Saturday, November 02, 2013

Longarm and the Devil's Bride

 Over at the Western Fictioneers Blog, author James Reasoner made a very interesting and informative Halloween post about Westerns with supernatural themes. Two of the books he mentioned were part of the long running Longarm series that's been around since the 1970s. Not only that, but for these two entries, behind the house name Tabor Evans was no other than Reasoner himself. Now I've read a bunch of Reasoner's Westerns and enjoyed all of them so I immediately ordered Longarm and the Devil's Bride for my Kindle and since the other book wasn't available as an ebook yet, I ordered the paperback of Longarm and the Voodoo Queen.
   Sat down with Devil's Bride and really enjoyed it. It starts out like a crime story in Western duds with deputy U.S. Marshall Custis Parker Long, aka Longarm, being assigned to look for a young woman named Angela Boothe who has gone missing in Kansas City. Longarm takes an all night train to Kansas but when he arrives the local law enforcement is little help and no sooner has he begun to nose around than somebody tries to kill him for his troubles.
   But Longarm isn't easy to kill and he's soon back on the trail. Worth mentioning is that author Reasoner has written quite a few mysteries as well as Westerns so the detective work here has an authentic feel to it. Longarm has to do some deductive reasoning to get on the right track. That leads him to my favorite Western city, Santa Fe New Mexico, where he does indeed find the young lady but also finds more questions than answers and he begins to suspect something strange and sinister is afoot. I'm about to give a possible spoiler so you can stop right here if you want. Go buy the book. I highly recommend it. A good story with plenty of action to be had. And this one doesn't have a Scooby Doo ending. There really is some supernatural stuff going on.

   POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. You've been warned.

   I wanted to mention one bit I really enjoyed. When Longarm finds himself in the main bad guy's house he enters the library where he finds some old books. They mean nothing to Longarm but he does note that the authors have strange names like Von Junzt and Alhazred. I was grinning like an idiot at that point.
   I also wondered if one of the other villains, Lucius Thorne, had been named in honor of John Thunstones' nemesis Rowley Thorne.


James Reasoner said...

I don't remember where that villain's name came from, but I don't think it was from the John Thunstone stories. I wound up calling that my "Longarm Meets Jules de Grandin" book. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's got a nice Buck Jones swipe on the cover, too.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

I liked it a lot, James. I forgot to mention the French policeman reminded me of de Grandin. I didn't recognize Buck Jones. I figured the artist just swiped that image for the slightly creepy uplighting.