Saturday, September 22, 2007

Review of Texas Wind

Texas Wind (Point Blank, 2004) by James Reasoner is a book that enjoyed cult status over the years and, in light of the author’s recent reemergence on the crime fiction scene with Dust Devils, it bears a second look.

The setup is simple. Cody, a private detective, is hired by the stepmother of a missing college student to find her. It seems like an open and shut case of elopement, until the girl’s finger shows up, along with a demand for ransom. Has she really been kidnapped? Are she and her boyfriend trying to get some money from her family? Or, is she dead? Finding the answer will bring Cody face to face with the mob, and the consequences of young love gone wrong.

Texas Wind is not as polished and perfect as Dust Devils, but that is understandable, considering Reasoner had 27 years between books to hone his skills. Still, Wind is well crafted, and there is no waste. In fact, the book is so economical that a subplot involving Cody and his admirer Janice seems squeezed in. The couple goes from first date to professions of love in no time flat. It’s a minor complaint. A fast moving, focused story is better than a bloated, turgid one any day. In writing, knowing what to leave out is just as important as knowing what to leave, and Reasoner knows.

Texas Wind is not as engaging as Dust Devils, but that does not really matter, since very few hardboiled crime tales can rise to the level of Reasoner's most recent effort. Texas Wind is still well worth reading.

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