Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I'm pleased to announce that, for the first time in four years, a brand new Joe Hannibal novel is now available. 
It is entitled GOSHEN HOLE and can be purchased as an eBook original via Amazon Kindle. (Other eBook formats will be available soon, but there are currently no plans for a print version.)
The Amazon link provides a lengthy Product Detail introduction as well as an opening chapter sample. But a more concise blurb might be as follows:

Following the life-altering events of THE DAY AFTER YESTERDAY, Joe Hannibal is back in action! Operating now out of the Lake McConaughy region in west central Nebraska, Joe still carries a PI ticket but doesn't solicit investigative cases like in the old days. This doesn't mean, however, that trouble doesn't still have a way of finding him, even when he doesn't go looking for it.
As a favor to a new friend from the lakeside community, Joe agrees to do some discreet checking on the pal's ex wife who seems to have gone missing from her digs in nearby Cheyenne, Wyoming. In no time at all, Joe finds himself at odds with a shady local businessman, on the radar of a bloodthirsty Mexican crime boss, and in the crosshairs of a rogue bandito who won't hesitate to take down not only his primary target but also anybody/everybody else who tries to get in his way.
Before he can find the answers he set out after, Joe must endure the fight of his life and in the process learns that the dusty back roads and wide open spaces of the high plains can be every bit as dangerous as the meanest streets from the cities of his past.

I've already used this new setting for several Hannibal short stories that have appeared over the past couple of years and have found it to be exciting and re-vitalizing to me as the author—I am in hopes that readers will like it as well.
GOSHEN HOLE is the seventh novel in the series (along with twenty-one short stories) and I recently completed the eighth, BLADE OF THE TIGER, which we'll be bringing out some time next year. 2012 will mark thirty years since Joe first appeared in the now-defunct Spiderweb Magazine—making the series one of the longest-running, still-active ones on the scene.
Nevertheless, if you give GOSHEN HOLE a try (for the bargain price of $2.99!) I think you'll soon find out that Hannibal still has enough gas sloshing around in his battered old tank to keep things interesting.


In conjunction with the release of Hannibal #7, my third Hannibal novel, THE BRUTAL BALLET, is also being re-issued in eBook format. Originally published as a Dell paperback in 1992, this is one of the few mystery novels (or novels of any kind, to my knowledge) to take an in-depth look at the world of professional wrestling as part of its back story. Which brings me to the admission that I have long been—and continue to be—a big fan of pro wrestling. (You might say it's in the blood … one of my grandfather's boyhood friends growing up in Nekoosa, WI, went on to become the famed 1920s era grappler Ed "Strangler" Lewis, and my sweet, shy maternal grandmother would attend live matches and turn into one of those raging "Hatpin Mary" types who would sit at ringside and cuss a blue streak at whatever "bad guy" was breaking the rules.)
Anyway, I was eager to use the wrestling scene (this was in the days before the term "sports entertainment" was in wide use and most organizations were still going through the pretense of pretending everything was "real") as the backdrop to a story and I think it turned out pretty well. Unfortunately, distribution was lousy and the book went on and off the shelves in about a week so very few readers ever saw or heard of THE BRUTAL BALLET. I am in hopes that, through the magic of eBooks, this can be corrected.
The blurb for this one goes:

While trying to prove or disprove his client's suspicions of a cheating spouse, Hannibal is drawn into the violent and bizarre world of professional wrestling. Almost immediately, however, he finds himself grappling with issues far more serious than infidelity when his investigation slams him up against a vicious murder. And where there is one murder there is always the seed for more.
Double-dealings, illicit sex, blackmail, and kidnapping are all on the card as Joe battles to uncover the truth. He will taste hot sweet kisses and bitter rage and his own blood before he is through. But innocent lives are being threatened with death … and the kind of unbelievable degradation that can be even worse. Hannibal won't stop until the predators and killers are revealed and made to pay.

"Noir" seems to be the popular catch phrase used for a lot of stuff coming out these days, but what the Hannibal books and stories are is plain old-fashioned "hardboiled" … a tag I think I am qualified to attach. In the preface to an interview I did a couple months back, the interviewer used the term "red meat mysteries" for my work … I kinda like that, too.
So if you're looking to add a little red meat to your holiday pastries and cookies and candy canes, why not give the Hannibal books a try? I think you'll be glad you did—and so will Joe and I.

Persevere — WD

Friday, December 9, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: DEAD MEN'S HARVEST by Matt Hilton

This sixth adventure in the popular Joe Hunter series is an action-packed thrill ride from start to finish and author Hilton holds the pedal to the metal on practically every page.

Hunter, former military man and agent for the mysterious counter-terrorism outfit Arrosave, once again finds himself pitted against Tubal Cain—a vicious serial killer also known as the Harvestman due to his quirky little habit of "harvesting" bones and other souvenirs from his victims. What makes their clash all the more unnerving this time around is the fact that Hunter thought he had killed Cain a number of years ago (as related in DEAD MEN'S DUST, the first entry in the series). When Cain escapes from the ultra-maximum security prison where the CIA had been holding him for mysterious reasons known only to them, the Harvestman is hell bent of getting revenge against Hunter and also wiping out Joe's brother John, who is in Witness Protection waiting to testify against the crime boss who helped spring Cain.

The plot is marvelously complex, with numerous back stories and ulterior motives all interwoven around the central thrust of events building steadily toward the inevitable clash between Hunter and Cain. Some of the action strains real-life credibility and Hunter's straight-ahead-at-all-costs method of doing things is borderline reckless to say the least … but, ultimately, that is part of the fun. Hunter is a larger-than-life hero made to overcome larger-than-life challenges. And Tubal Cain is a cunning, well-realized, thoroughly despicable villain who makes a very worthy adversary.

The cutting back and forth between first- and third-person narrative has become somewhat common in thrillers these days and in several instances I, for one, have found it unnecessary and annoying. Here, however, author Hilton does it skillfully enough—and the insight/information learned in the third-person segments are important enough—to make the shifts not only justified but seamless in the reading. Also, Hilton does a terrific job of writing the action scenes that are crucial to this type of thriller, and a hell of a lot harder to do than you might think.

All in all, an exciting, slam-bang tale with a hero you'll want to see more of. Be sure to check it out, and—if you haven't already done so—also check out the other titles in the series. You'll be glad you did.

Persevere --- WD

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: THE ZINC ZOO by Ed Lynskey

This sixth outing for PI Frank Johnson is another solid entry in an already strong series. It also continues something of a banner year for author Lynskey, who scored back in the summer with the noir hit LAKE CHARLES and then again this fall with the crime thriller ASK THE DICE. Earlier, in the spring, he kicked things off with the well-received cozy mystery QUIET ANCHORAGE … The guy can do it all.
But, while I'm inclined to check out anything with Lynskey's byline, I have an admitted bias for good private eye thrillers so the Frank Johnson books are my favorites. By the way, in addition to the novels, several Johnson short stories have also been published, including one collection titled OUT OF TOWN A FEW DAYS.
THE ZINC ZOO, set in 2005, finds Johnson recently returned from a grueling overseas case. His life is in transition, as he and his fiancĂ© Dreema are now living together and Frank has moved from his beloved Pelham to the suburbs of Richmond … the dreary gray sameness of this setting amounting to the "zinc zoo" of the title. Furthermore, Frank is on the outs with his friend and former boss, high-profile attorney Robert Gatlin, who is about to marry a woman Frank suspects—but cannot prove—to be a cold-blooded killer. Without clients being steered his way by Gatlin, Frank's difficulties in adjusting to the changes in his life are only aggravated by having little or no call for his PI services.
And then Zani Huang shows up wanting to hire him to find her missing husband. From there things build momentum rapidly and, before you know it, Frank has found the corpse of a murder victim, his client has disappeared, he's been framed for the murder and finds himself on the run from the cops. From there the pace never lets up. Aided by his bounty-hunter pal Gerald, Frank races to stay ahead of the police as he searches to find both his missing client and her husband and at the same time try to solve the murder he has been tagged for in order to clear himself. And, just incidentally, he is also working to solidify his relationship with Dreema and prevent his friend Gatlin from marrying the woman with the arsenic green eyes whom Frank believes is hell bent on making herself a widow (again) as soon as possible.
The writing is fast-paced and spot-on descriptive as presented in Lynskey's distinct writing style. The plot—along with a couple of subplots—is complex and intriguing, with some unexpected turns and a tension-filled double twist near the end. The secondary characters are colorful and well realized. And the action, when it comes, is kick-ass.
Not a lot more you could want in a private eye thriller. This one delivers the goods. Strongly recommended.

Persevere --- WD

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: RANCHO DIABLO - Dark Horse by Colby Jackson

Here's another terrific Western by another good friend, James Reasoner. This is the latest entry in the popular Rancho Diablo series and if you're not familiar with what I'm referencing then you've got some serious catching up to do. 
This fifth entry in the popular Rancho Diablo series maintains the high standards set by previous titles and continues the promise of more to come. As most everyone knows, these books are written in a sort of round-robin style by Bill Crider, James Reasoner, and Mel Odum. This time out it is the always-dependable Reasoner taking another turn and, as already indicated, he does not disappoint.

The arrival in Shooters Cross of a beautiful blonde young woman leading a beautiful (albeit in quite a different way) black stallion draws a lot of attention right off the bat, none more intense than from young Duane Beatty, a hired hand at Sam Blaylock's Rancho Diablo ranch, who happens to be in town that day getting supplies. And, as luck would have it, the opportunity for the young cowpoke to do more than just gaze longingly after the lovely stranger soon presents itself when the blonde beauty is accosted by three hard cases in the local livery and Duane is on hand to intervene.
From there the momentum of the story picks up steadily as it turns out that the blonde — whose name is Lizzie Payton — has plenty of trouble on her lovely tail and getting involved with her may not turn out to be so lucky (unless you count the bad kind) for Duane after all. But Duane, having ridden with Sam Blaylock for a lot of years and having been in on the building of Rancho Diablo from the beginning, is no stranger to trouble. Same for Sam and the other Rancho Diablo riders. And once it is clear how Lizzie has been wronged and how much danger she is in, Duane and the others are ready to back her all the way.
There's action aplenty, a handful of subplots complete with a twist or two, a colorful cast of characters including the kind of villain you love to hate and his assortment of hench-men, a taste of sweet romance, and an exciting horse race featuring Lizzie's "Satan", the dark horse of the title … all presented in Reasoner's easy, assured writing style.
Lots to like. Leaves you sorry to reach the last page and anxious for the next installment of the Rancho Diablo series.
Strongly recommended.

Persevere --- WD

Friday, November 25, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: GHOST COLTS by Peter Brandvold

Another highly recommended book - this time a Western with supernatural elements. Peter Brandvold is a friend of mine who lives in Colorado. He is one of today's best and most popular Western writers. If you haven't read any of his work before, here is a mighty fine place to start.
Peter has been one of my favorite Western authors for a number of years now, and this exciting new novella from Western Trail Blazers is a good example why. Peter writes wonderfully descriptive passages that plant his settings and a sense of time and place firmly in the reader's mind. With that he combines crisp dialogue and action sequences told with so much energy and detail that you almost want to duck from the hot lead flying through the air!

In GHOST COLTS, Brandvold also introduces (and I'm not giving anything away here that the title doesn't already suggest) some supernatural elements. To escape a raging blizzard, Ranger Tim Armstrong and his wounded prisoner, Renfrow, hole up in the saloon of a desolate town. Renfrow's gang is on their tail but hopefully the blizzard has forced them to hole up somewhere themselves. As the night settles in and the blizzard rages on, Armstrong remains vigilant in case the gang didn't halt their pursuit … and it is by means of this vigilance that the ranger slowly comes to realize that something is not quite right about the desolate little town and the curious collection of patrons who are gathered at the saloon where he has taken a room for himself and his prisoner. He begins to wonder if the threat of Renfrow's gang is the only danger he needs to be concerned about.
There are points as this story unfolds where you will think you have things figured out … but you don't … not quite.
When the conclusion comes it is exciting, unsettling, and ultimately satisfying yet haunting.

Western action with a little something extra. Don't miss it!

Persevere --- WD

Noteworthy Reads: 13 SHOTS OF NOIR by Paul D. Brazill

I don't read a whole lot of horror/suspense fiction --- which these stories are, collected under the broad umbrella of "noir" --- so when I do I try to be selective. Having run across a number of Paul's stories here and there and enjoying each of them, I was anxious to check out this anthology. Plus, Paul is another buddy from the HC Collective.
In any event, diving into 13 SHOTS and devouring its contents pretty much in one setting, I did not come away disappointed.

This collection of stories by short-fiction master Paul Brazill is a nifty, nasty mix that covers the gamut from noir to crime to suspense to horror to black humor, and then back again.

Most of the stories are set in England and Brazill's descriptions and use of colloquial language are spot-on and highly entertaining in and of themselves. He sets his scenes deftly and then plunges into the characters and situations and the reader each time is hurtled along, mesmerized to read the next passage in order to find out where the tale is going—and, more often than not, the conclusion arrives with a neatly unexpected twist.

"Tut", the opening tale of the set and a 2010 Spinetingler nominee, is probably my favorite of the lot. It's an expertly paced telling of slowly escalating madness. But there is plenty of madness—and menace, to be sure—in the rest of the stories as well. Like I said at the outset: A nifty, nasty mix that should not be missed.

Persevere --- WD

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: FELONY FISTS by Paul Bishop

This is the first entry in the new Fight Card series created by Paul Bishop and Mel Odum. The Fight Card titles will be short (approximately 25,000 words) novels inspired by the boxing/fight stories that used to run in the old sports pulp magazines of the '30s and '40s. These Fight Card stories will be set in the 1950s, with different characters and settings all over the map, but with the commonality of the central protagonist having some connection to St. Vincent's Asylum For Boys (referred to as Our Lady of the Glass Jaw), a Chicago orphanage run by Father Tim, the fighting priest.
            FELONY FISTS, written by co-creator Bishop, is a rousing tale set in L.A. and centered around Pat "Felony" Flynn, a former Navy boxer, now a uniform cop striving to make detective while at the same training and boxing in undercards simply because he loves the sport. A series of unexpected events finds Flynn on the fast track not only to having a chance at making detective on the city's famed Hat Squad but also to fight in a ranked bout against gangster Mickey Cohen's up-and-coming contender for the light-heavyweight crown.
            The action is fast and furious, the characters are colorful, the setting and time period are captured perfectly, and the writing is spot on. Reads like a black-and-white period movie from Warner Brothers. FELONY FISTS scores a KO right out of the corner and sets the stage nicely to make readers look forward to upcoming titles in this exciting series.
            Strongly recommended.

Be sure to check this one out. I enjoyed the  heck out of it and am sure you will, too.

Persevere --- WD

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Dundee Western - HARD TRAIL TO SOCORRO

I'm pleased to announce that my new Western novel, HARD TRAIL TO SOCORRO, is now available on Amazon Kindle and also through Smashwords in various other eBook formats. In a few weeks, a print version will be available as well --- more on that when it is officially out.
This is the first in a planned series from Western Trail Blazer featuring Bodie Kendrick, bounty hunter.
The publisher's blurb for HARD TRAIL is as follows:
Bounty hunter Bodie Kendrick apprehended his prey without too much trouble. Claiming the reward, however, turns out not to be so easy.
First there is Veronica Fairburn, the beautiful woman who has her own business in Socorro and insists on sticking with Kendrick when he sets out to return there with his prisoner … Then there's the gang of tough ranch hands dead set on relieving him of the prisoner in order to dish out their own brand of personal revenge … Add in the Mexican desperado stalking the woman, and the band of renegade Apaches raiding throughout the region—and Kendrick has his work cut out for him.
Complicating matters even more are the feelings developing between Kendrick and Veronica.
But the greatest challenge of all may come from the daring passage they must attempt over the Jornada del Muerto—the Journey of the Dead, awaiting them in the merciless White Sands desert.

I think that sums up the storyline pretty well.
All I can add is that this is a good, old-fashioned Western adventure with grit, lots of action, and a dash of romance. I hope you'll give it a try --- I think you'll enjoy it.

Persevere --- WD

Saturday, November 5, 2011


In the past couple of weeks, three very significant anthologies have been released.
All have disparate themes yet all contain some of the sharpest, most powerful genre writing being done today. They would be worth your attention at any price, but the fact that each is available in eBook format for a very modest cost is only added incentive for you to seek them out.

DEVILS NEST is a collection of eight stories set in Nebraska of the 1880s. Most of these stories are centered around a drifter named John Coburn, who is also known as The Peregrine (a traveler or wanderer). There is a sense of mystery, perhaps even a trace of mysticism about Coburn. He is good with a gun, although not a gunslinger per se`, and he also keeps a Ponca knife in his boot for tight situations when a surprise edge can mean the difference between life and death.
It is upon returning to his hometown of Red Horizon and finding it obliterated that The Peregrine's real journey begins … a search for answers on the harsh frontier and, ultimately, a hoped-for reunion with any surviving family members. Richard Prosch's writing is spare yet vivid in its descriptions of place and characters and his plot twists take familiar territory and gives it a distinct spin that is all his own. The informative "In Old Nebraska" introduction by Ron Scheer provides a solid foundation for the stories that follow.

THE LOST CHILDREN is a collection of 30 stories that is noteworthy for two reasons: First, the quality and theme of the stories are powerful and important; Second, the proceeds from this undertaking all go to two worthwhile charities—PROTECT (The National Association to Protect Children @ http://www.protect.org/) and Children 1st Scotland @ www.children1st.org.uk). If you are unfamiliar with either of these organizations you should follow the links and check them out.
 The collection of stories presented here came about as a challenge issued by editors Thomas Pluck and Fiona Johnson on Ron Earl Phillip's (the third editor of this anthology) Flash Fiction Friday website. Pledges by Pluck and Johnson for each story submitted resulted in an initial $600 being generated for these worthy causes. The idea for this follow-up anthology soon materialized and THE LOST CHILDREN is the result. The haunting cover by Sarah Bennett Pluck and Danielle Tunstall instantly sets the tone and the flash fiction-style stories that follow are equally haunting and powerful and as painfully timely as today's headlines. The stories are not pleasant and few punches are pulled, but the message driven home again and again demands to be heard: The abuse and neglect of our young is not only horrific and damaging to them as individuals but, unchecked, it threatens the fabric of our souls and our future as a so-called civilized society.

BEAT TO A PULP: HARDBOILED presents (fittingly) 13 tales of mayhem, murder, betrayal, and brutality. All the good stuff. Lean, gritty prose from a wide range of authors telling tales set against a wide range of backdrops and set-ups, this is the kind of entertainment we used to get from the best of the old pulp magazines. And why expect anything less when it comes from editor/contributor David Cranmer, aided this time out by Scott D. Parker, also doing double duty as contributor/co-editor? Cranmer's Beat To A Pulp web magazine consistently—and to increasing praise and recognition—presents these kind of tales on a weekly basis.
Full disclosure: One of the tales in this collection is by some character named Dundee. The only thing I'll add beyond that is that I'm proud to be part of the line-up David and Scott have assembled here.
The price is right, the stories are righteous. You won't be disappointed.

With winter weather and snowbound days just around the corner (or already here, in some places) it's a good time to start stocking up on your reading supplies and you can't miss with any or all of these terrific anthologies.

Persevere — WD

Monday, October 31, 2011


This past weekend marked what would have been the 45th wedding anniversary for my beloved Pam and me.
I lost her in February of 2008, coming up on four years now. I miss her and think about her every minute of every day. The pain and emptiness might be unbearable if I didn't also remind myself on each of those days that, before losing her, I had the blessing of having Pam in my life for 41-plus years. That—along with knowing she would expect nothing less but for me to carry on—is what has sustained me through these years without her.
All of that brings me to a reflection on the age-old question:
            Is it better to have loved and lost … or never to have loved at all?
            From my perspective, the answer is simple: Yes, it is better to have loved. The alternative, not having had Pam for the time I did—no, I would not have missed that treasure for anything. Not even to avoid the pain of losing her. She was the best part of me, what made me whole. The term "soul mates" is overused almost to the point of being a clichĂ©, but I truly believe that is what Pam and I found in one another. And as long as she stays alive in my heart, she is never really gone. I still write her cards on occasions such as her birthday, our anniversary, holidays, etc., and put them next to her urn in our living room. One day my ashes will be mixed with hers and we will be together again …

            Another reason for this reflection stems from a conversation I had with my granddaughter, Emily, recently. She was telling me about one of her favorite songs from one of her favorite singing groups. The group is Mayday Parade and the song is called "Terrible Things". She played it for me and then, because I can't understand most of what these current rock groups are screeching these days, she read me the lyrics.
            The gist of the song is a father talking to his son and warning him of the terrible things life can have in store and encouraging him to try and avoid them, especially not to fall in love. It seems the boy's mother died very young, living only long enough for the parents to fall in love and the child to be born.
            Some of the key lyrics are:
            " … That's when I met your mother, the girl of my dreams
            The most beautiful woman that I'd ever seen
             … I said, girl can I tell you a wonderful thing?
            I made you a present with paper and string
            Open with care now, I'm asking you please
            You know that I love you, will you marry me?
             … She said, boy can I tell you a terrible thing?

            It seems that I'm sick and I've only got weeks

            Please don't be sad now, I really believe
            You were the greatest thing to ever happen to me
             … So don't fall in love, there's just too much to lose
            If you're given the choice, I'm begging you choose
            To walk away, walk away
            Don't let it get you, I can't bear to see the same happen to you
            Now son, I'm only telling you this because life can do terrible things."
            When she had finished reading this to me, I asked Emily why the song spoke to her so strongly. She said because she felt that love was "kind of a joke", a fantasy, and that it only lead to heartache. This from a 17-year-old beauty who's had her heart "broken" several times by boys who turned out to be "jerks" (actually, she used a little stronger language than that, but never mind exactly what).
            I realize she is young and perhaps will have her heart broken—and will break a few of her own—several more times before she experiences deep, genuine love. But it troubled me to hear her sentiments on the subject stated so firmly (even if only temporarily, I hope) at this stage in her young life. I realize, of course, I was probably personalizing it a bit due to my own circumstances of having lost a great love. I reminded her of that, the special thing her grandmother and I had, to try and demonstrate to her that love wasn't always "a joke". She conceded that maybe sometimes it could work out that way, but still she seemed to cling to the belief that mostly it only led to heartache.
            It saddened me to hear that … and still does, thinking about it.
            For all I know, Emily has fallen in and out of love a half dozen times since that conversation. In this age of texting and Facebook romances and so forth, the word "love" seems to get tossed around very freely. Maybe that's part of the problem, why it can seem like a joke—because the word and the meaning are at risk of becoming too superficial.
            That would sadden me most of all. If our young lose the hope of true love, then that would be a terrible thing indeed.
            For me, I know better. I know real love is out there and if you're lucky enough to find it, then whatever else may result is worth it.
            So I'll close with some lyrics that speak to me—from Garth Brooks' "The Dance":
            "For a moment all the world was right
 … Holding you, I held everything
            For a moment wasn't I the king
            … I could have missed the pain
            But I'd of had to miss the dance."

Persevere — WD

Sunday, October 16, 2011

James & Livia Reasoner - The WIND RIVER Saga

I have long admired the writing of James and Livia Reasoner (Livia, of course, known professionally by her L.J. Washburn nom-de-plum). I have also envied them the husband-and-wife relationship that has spanned so many happy years of marriage and produced such an impressive body of work—two wonderful daughters being at the head of that list.

One can imagine that a certain amount of collaboration, or at least some back-and-forth critiquing, probably goes into almost everything either of them writes. But for a particular series—the Wind River saga, covering six titles all told—their collaboration may have been as complete and thorough as anything they've done. Originally published as a set of paperback originals by Harper Collins, the intent of the authors was for the books to come out under a joint byline. As it turned out, however, the publisher insisted only a single name be used … that of James. This in no way detracted from the reading public's enjoyment of these fine novels, but it nevertheless was a disappointment to James and Livia.

Now, through the magic of eBooks, not only is this entire series available once again but this time it is appearing with both bylines—James Reasoner and L.J. Washburn—as originally intended.

The Wind River books are about as good as it gets in the Western genre. Centered around former Army scout/buffalo hunter Cole Tyler—who takes on the job of town marshal when Wind River is little more than a primitive outpost—the books follow Tyler as he grows as a lawman and a person and as the town grows and evolves around him. The stories are rich with action, a strong sense of time and place, and a wide range of colorful, memorable characters. Elements of drama, suspense, mystery, and even some Indian (the Native American kind) mysticism are to be found as well—all presented in the Reasoners' assured, skilled, clear and clean writing style.

It is recommended that the books be read in sequence, to best follow the carefully-plotted thread of the complete storyline. In order, the titles are:
            WIND RIVER


Reasonably priced for Kindle and Nook, with beautiful new covers designed by Livia herself, this terrific series definitely belongs in your library of top-notch Westerns.
If you read 'em before, savor them again. If you missed them the first time around, don't make that mistake twice.

Strongly recommended.

Persevere — WD

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE MURDEROUS by Chester D. Campbell

This is the second Sid Chance mystery. After serving with Army Special Forces in Vietnam, Sidney Lanier Chance (his mother was an American literature major) put in nineteen years as a National Park Service ranger. That career tragically ended when marijuana growers using a remote section of a national park nearly killed him. He worked as police chief in a small town not far from Nashville for ten years until an unsavory sheriff falsely charged him with bribing a drug dealer. Disillusioned, he holed up in a cabin in the woods until a former cop turned wealthy businesswoman coaxed him home to Nashville and into the PI business.
The Good, The Bad and The Murderous finds Sid taking on one of his toughest cases. A young black man just out of prison after serving thirteen years for a murder he committed at age twelve is charged with a new homicide. Detectives say they have evidence that proves his guilt. His grandmother hires Sid to prove they’re wrong.
Jaz LeMieux, board chair of a large truck stop chain whose curious background includes champion woman boxer, Air Force Security Policewoman, and Metro Nashville cop, assists Sid in the investigation. They turn up evidence of Medicare fraud, drug dealing, and police corruption. In the process, Jaz faces police retaliation and a hired gun appears to have Sid in his sights.
The book is available in trade paperback and for the Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984604448. It's also at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/79094 for various formats.
The first Sid Chance book, The Surest Poison, won the Silver Falchion Award at the 2009 Killer Nashville conference.
Chester Campbell is also the author of the Greg McKenzie mysteries. You can read more about him and his work at:  http://www.chesterdcampbell.com.

I recommend checking out this book, by one of my fellow Hardboiled Collective members.

Persevere --- WD

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


                                           Split Novella
(Two Stories – Joe Hannibal/Noah Milano)

                                     Available Now FREE

            Jochem Vandersteen (Dutch author of the Noah Milano series and head honcho at the always entertaining Sons of Spade blog) has come up with an interesting concept. He calls it a split novella … Think of the old Ace "double novels", only in this two-for-one concept you get two short stories under one banner, rather than two novel-length works.

            A good deal made sweeter by the fact that it's free.

            The stories involved here are:
  • "Real Wild Child" – a quick, tough tale featuring Los Angeles PI Noah Milano trying to rescue a hot young "wild child" from the clutches of a thuggish motorcycle gang. Trouble is, the girl doesn't want to be rescued … a fact Noah is forced to learn the hard way.
  • "Brand It M – For Murder" – featuring my Midwest PI Joe Hannibal, now transplanted to Nebraska, participating in a day of cattle-branding on a small Sandhils ranch where the planned activity goes startlingly wrong when a killer strikes. This is something of a change of pace for a Hannibal story, wherein Joe relies more on his deductive prowess than his fists and gun. But the tension and suspense build steadily, right up to the final revelation.

And don't forget – all of this is available for Free.

All you have to do is send me an e-mail request at wddundee@charter.net and I will send back to you, in pdf format, the split novella package. If you've never read any Hannibal or Milano stories before this is a quick, easy (and did I mention Free?) way to get acquainted … or re-acquainted, if that's the case. Either way, Jochem and I hope you will enjoy what you read and want to seek out more. Naturally, any feed back you care to send will be appreciated.

Persevere — WD

Monday, October 10, 2011


There is a new interview with yours truly available now at Mike Murphy's http://emergingnovelists.com/ .
Hope you give it a look and find it interesting.

Persevere --- WD

Friday, October 7, 2011


This second collection of Cash and Gideon stories is every bit as good as Volume I, which should come as no surprise to anyone who's been following this fine series by Edward Grainger (who everyone knows is really author/editor/publisher David Cranmer).

These stories of the Old West are tough and gritty, befitting the era. And even at a time when justice came swift and hard, a time before complex rules and regulations started favoring the rights of the lawless over those of their prey—Marshal Cash Laramie's brand of justice has an intensity all its own. He is sent out (sometimes sided by Gideon Miles, sometimes on his own) on the toughest assignments and this he seems to relish. He is relentless in his pursuit and if/when a showdown ensues he asks no quarter … and gives none.

For all that, there is a quirkily compassionate side to Laramie as well. And his skills as a lawman also include using deductive reasoning. In "Cash Laramie and the Painted Ladies"—one of my favorite stories in this collection—Cash dishes out plenty of lead and tough talk but, in the end, his deciphering of clues is what solves the final mystery. Conversely, Cash is at his grimmest and most unforgiving in the hauntingly memorable "Maggie's Promise". Another particularly notable story (although each stands on its own merit) is "Origin of White Deer" which details Cash's early years as a white child raised by Indians and then his transition back into the white man's world and how he chose the path of a lawman.

The stories are lean, fast-paced, impactful.
They will remind you why Westerns still stand tall.
Check 'em out, you'll be glad you did.

Persevere --- WD


At the urging of others, whom I will not name (unless I want to blame them later on), this old dinosaur took another step into the social networking world and joined Twitter. Anyone following this blog must have noticed by now that I have a tendency toward long-windedness ... so messaging in short bursts of words didn't necessarily sound like my cup of tea. (Not to mention the image risk that "Tweeting" might pose for a writer of hardboiled PI and Western fiction.)
Having given it a try, however, and having gotten a nice reception from several followers already, I think it is going to be interesting and enjoyable.
So if you're on Twitter and haven't found me there yet, please look me up at: @wddundee .
Then we can begin ... er ... tweeting each other.

Persevere --- WD

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: ROGUE ISLAND by Bruce DeSilva

ROGUE ISLAND is a terrific mystery/thriller in the best hardboiled tradition.

Its protagonist—Liam Mulligan—is a savvy, wise-cracking, skeptical-on-the-verge-of-becoming-cynical newspaper reporter delving relentlessly into whatever/whoever is behind a string of deadly arsons in the Mount Hope section of Providence, Rhode Island.
Mulligan knows his city inside and out—from its worst to its best, and everything in between. He also knows its people, having friends as well as enemies at all levels. And above all he knows that he is among the last of a dying breed, inasmuch as the impact of print journalism is declining all across the country. But none of that is damn well going to stop him from continuing to do his job the only way he knows how.

DeSilva's multi-award winning writing style (Edgar and Macavity – not to mention placing as a finalist for a Shamus, Barry, and Anthony) is fast-paced yet richly detailed, nailing a character or painting a scene with clear, concise strokes. Mulligan's wise cracks and wry observations are as witty (and often laugh-out-loud funny) as anything going today. But there is a grittiness and depth to this tale as well, never letting the reader forget for a minute that cruel, cowardly crimes are being committed and innocent lives (some of them children – as described in the powerful opening scene) are too often left as smoldering victims.

Certain plot elements may be somewhat standard, but the polished writing and colorful characterizations manage to elevate everything several notches up the ladder.
Mulligan makes for an engaging, memorable hero and readers—including this one—will certainly be clamoring to see more of him.

Good stuff.
Strongly recommended.

Persevere --- WD

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"O'DOUL" - New Western Novella Now Available

A Dime Novel - short Western adventure... O’Doul has been a lot of places and done a lot of things in his life. Now, working on a ranch outside the town of Pitchfork Creek, he finds bad things happening all around. The ranch owner and his wife are splitting up and O’Doul is forced to ride herd on a hot-headed young cowboy. When things come to a head, O'Doul makes a fatal decision and goes into action.
This is my latest Western yarn from Western Trail Blazer --- part of their Dime Novel line, which consists of novella-length works available in various eBook formats (as opposed to the full-length novels they also publish in both print and eBook format). "O'Doul" is a gritty, somewhat noirish tale of a handful of people --- including one man in particular --- who've gotten some tough breaks out of Life yet are striving to find "a decent path" to continue down. 
I hope you give it a try.
I think you'll like it.
Persevere --- WD

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: KILLING LINCOLN by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard

This exciting page-turner can be read as a suspense thriller, a detailed slice of American history—or both. I chose the latter approach and found it lacking as neither.

The writing style is clean and straightforward yet richly descriptive in its presentation of people, places, events, conditions, and motives.

This telling covers the span of time from right after Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration through to the capture and punishment of those who conspired to kill him. This period includes the final days and battles of the Civil War, Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox, the plotting of John Wilkes Booth and those he gathers about him, the assassination itself, and the massive manhunt that is launched to apprehend all involved. As factual characters are introduced —ranging from embattled soldiers to stable hands and bartenders to wives and mistresses to the most prominent men in the country—their individual back stories, both before and after the central events of the book, expand both the depth and scope of the recounting.

All in all, I found this to be a fascinating, informative, couldn't-put-it-down read.
Full disclosure: I'm a big Bill O'Reilly fan. For those of you who may be biased the other way, I strongly recommend you not let that dissuade you from reading Killing Lincoln. You'll be short-changing yourself if you do.

Persevere — WD

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: REVENGE by Michael Haskins

            REVENGE is a gritty, complex mystery/thriller that builds suspense slowly, although with intermittent bursts of violence, and then explodes in a fiery (literally) climax that includes not only plenty of exciting action but also as shocking a final denouement as I've read in a good long while.
            Protagonist Liam "Mad Mick" Murphy is an engaging character, a gonzo journalist who has traveled much of the globe and covered his share of conflict. He is somewhat world-weary, but neither jaded nor overly cynical. His introspection is often self-effacing yet always insightful. He has both friends—and enemies—at many different levels and in positions of varying authority.
            Throughout the novel, Murphy is hopelessly under the spell of the exotic  Michelle—a Filipino beauty who is the sister of a young man Mick had befriended briefly back in college. Moreover, she perfectly fits the image of what has long been his "fantasy love". When Michelle pleads for his help, Murphy ignores what might have been warning bells under different circumstances and wastes little time agreeing to come to her aid.
            What Michelle draws Murphy into is a bizarre chain of shame and family honor threatening to culminate in savage revenge for past abuses. Murphy has contacts, Michelle insists, that can help her provide warnings to prevent this retaliation. It soon becomes apparent, however, that the warnings aren't going to be enough—and before it is done Murphy's choice to ignore those personal warning bells early on come back to haunt him when his involvement damn near costs him his own life!
            This is another title from another one of my fellow authors in the Hardboiled Collective. Good writing, good protagonist, good book. Don't miss it.

Persevere --- WD 

Monday, September 19, 2011

DISMAL RIVER now available on Kindle

My first Western novel, DISMAL RIVER, is now available on Kindle.
So far the reviews I've seen and the comments I've gotten have all been very positive. Print sales could be better. I'm hoping Kindle readers will jump on board in stronger numbers.

The tale is a rousing, old-fashioned Western adventure with action, romance, good guys, bad guys, and a few who are sort of in-between. It is set in the stark, ruggedly beautiful Nebraska Sandhills as they were back in the 1880s and the plot builds upon an actual event—the so-called Yale Bone Hunt—that took place about twenty years prior to my story. The main protagonist is a character named Lone McGantry who, as an infant, was the lone survivor when a family named McGantry was massacred in an Indian attack.
I plan on using McGantry in a series of Western novels. The next, tentatively titled RECKONING AT RAINROCK, is already written.

In the meantime, I am also working on another Western series about a bounty hunter named Bodie Kendrick, who tracks down fugitives in Arizona and New Mexico. The first of these, HARD TRAIL TO SOCORRO, will be out shortly from Western Trail Blazer.

I hope you will keep an eye out for my Westerns. I'm very excited by the opportunity to finally be working in this genre, and I think you will enjoy my stories.

Persevere — WD

Sunday, September 11, 2011



I feel it only appropriate today that each of us pause and reflect back for some measure of time on those tragic, sad, infuriating events of one decade ago. As Americans, they really should never be very far from our thoughts. That day—and those immediately following —showed ourselves and the rest of the world the best parts (although only too briefly) of the American spirit … and the worst parts of man's inhumanity to man.

I will leave it to others to extol the virtues of the Islamic faith and the peace-loving practices of the many millions of "good" Muslims, even though I can't help wondering where their voices are, en masse, speaking in condemnation of the radical Jihadists who perpetrated 9/11 and continue staging countless other acts of mass murder against the vulnerable and unsuspecting. And excuse me if I happen to be boarding a plane with a dark-complected young man jabbering in Arabic and I pause to give him the narrow-eye just a little closer than I would some blue-haired little granny from Boise. Call it profiling if you will, I call it common sense.
I will also leave to others most of the compassion and worldly broad-mindedness. I choose to remain pissed off. Yeah, we finally got bin Laden—where was your "Allahu Akbar" that night, fuckwad, when you were cowering behind two women before the Seals blew your sorry ass away? But that still leaves in his wake tens of thousands of others, all eager to carry on his bloodthirsty goals.

For me, it boils down to this:
Remember the fallen.
Remember the sacrifices.
Remember the heroism …
and Remember the cowardly bastards responsible—they're still out there, and we must never lose sight of that. 

Persevere — WD

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: WHERE ANGELS FEAR by C.J. Henderson & Bruce Gehweiler

If you're looking for an imaginative mix of spookery, action, and high adventure told in a well-written, slightly pulpy style—then look no further than this collection of rousing tales penned by C.J. Henderson and Bruce Gehweiler. There are eleven stories in all, running the gamut from encounters with everything from a prehistoric flying lizard to zombies to a headless horseman from the past still raising hell as he gallops through the misty night in modern-day Delaware.
At the center of these encounters is the unlikely pair of Dr. Hugh Blakely and Dr. William Boles, both renowned professors at Duke University. Blakely is a crypto-zoologist, a seeker of hidden or unknown animals; Boles is a parapsychologist, an explorer of all things supernatural who is aided by his own psychic visions. In addition to the differences in their chosen fields, the two are equally diverse in physical appearance and techniques for confronting a challenge. Blakely is big, rugged, outdoorsy—ready to plunge head-on against whatever stands in front of him, if necessary with flying fists or a blazing gun; Boles is slight in stature and far more cerebral, preferring to reason things out based on first-hand observation combined with his unique visions and vast general knowledge. That they are teamed together at all is necessary to satisfy the stipulaltions of a hundred-million dollar endowment to the university.
The banter and conflicting styles of the two men add a healthy dose of wry humor to the otherwise often grim situations in which they find themselves. During an encounter with a Sasquach-like "skunk ape" in the Okefenokee swamplands of Georgia, Blakely and Boles also encounter the local sheriff, auburn-haired Donna Fargo. After her world has been turned upside down by the events of that bloody episode, the formidable and determined Miss Fargo gives up her sheriff's star and joins the two professors in subsequent adventures, thus adding some sexual tension to the already potent brew.
The pace of these stories never flags and amidst the heroics and horrors there are a number of memorable secondary characters as well as some interesting insight contained in the narrative.
Exciting, highly entertaining stuff. Not to be missed.

Persevere --- WD