This seventh installment of the Drifter Detective series is penned by series creator David Cranmer, coming out from behind the Edward A. Grainger byline that he uses for his popular hardboiled Western stories featuring Cash Laramie, the Outlaw Marshal.
In addition to his fine writing skills, Mr. Cranmer, as most everybody knows, is the head honcho behind the Beat To A Pulp webzine and books --- a publishing concern that has provided an outlet to a wide range of talented writers telling a wide range of entertaining tales.
The Cash Laramie tales are at the core of it all (although the BTAP features are branching wider and wider all the time) and the Drifter Detective series – featuring one Jack Laramie, by name - is a direct extension of that; Jack, you see, is the grandson of Cash. As a mobile PI operating out of a DeSoto-drawn horse trailer in post-WWII Texas, he seeks to dish out the same kind of justice his grandfather did in the 1880s Old West.
It’s a creative concept done well throughout the series to date. A variety of fresh settings and problems handled with the distinct flair of a slightly modernized “town tamer”. When Jack Laramie gets involved, things are gonna get shaken up and they might not be resolved to everybody’s satisfaction, but they’re likely to be better than they were.
TORN AND FRAYED is a somewhat moodier, more nourish entry than much of what has come before - with some interesting Ross Macdonald/Lew Archer touches. The writing and the twists make it all go down as smooth as a belt of good bourbon at the close of a hard day.