Saturday, 13 February 2010

Crucifixion River

by Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini
Leisure, February 2010

The dark clouds are gathering, and it’s promising to be a doozy of a storm at the River Bend stage station…where the owners are anxiously awaiting the return of their missing daughter. Where a young cowboy hopes to find safety from the rancher whose wife he’s run away with. Where a Pinkerton agent has tracked the quarry he’s been chasing for years. Thunder won’t be the only thing exploding along CRUCIFIXION RIVER.

The title story in this book is written in the first person, in fact told from the viewpoint of many people, each short chapter being titled by the name of the character who’s thoughts the reader will share. This is just one of the things that makes this story extremely memorable.

Crucifixion River brings together a fascinating bunch of people, a number of whom aren’t satisfied with the lives, those that hide secret pasts, those who are running away, and those who aren’t ready to reveal who they really are before the time is right. Due to this many of these characters soon become suspicious of, and have doubts about, the people they find themselves with. After a sudden burst of violence the opportunity for robbery arises too. This all leads to a well told, and exciting, climax.

After this terrific western tale come a number of other short stories, and here Leisure have crossed genres, all the others falling under the mystery banner. All these stories having been published elsewhere such as in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine *.

Included in this book are:
Crucifixion River by Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini
Free Durt by Bill Pronzini *
He Said…She Said by Marcia Muller
Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Bill Pronzini
Irrefutable Evidence by Marcia Muller *
The Carville Ghost by Bill Pronzini *
Pickpocket by Marcia Muller *
The Dying Time by Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini

All the stories are well-written, gripping, tales. Twists and turns abound. Characters are well drawn and will stick in the mind for a long time. My favourite being Free Durt.

The idea of mixing both western and mystery fiction in one book works well and makes this a must read for those who enjoy both genres. And for those whose preferred reading material is westerns, the strength of the title story should have you hunting this book out, and who knows after reading the mystery tales you may become a fan of that genre too – and vice-versa.

This book was published at the end of January so should be available now.

Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller are a husband-wife writing team with numerous individual honors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America, the Grand Master Award from Mystery Writers of America, and the American Mystery Award. In addition to the Spur Award–winning title novella, this volume also contains stories featuring Bill Pronzini’s famous “Nameless Detective” and Marcia Muller’s highly popular Sharon McCone investigator.

2 comments:

Laurie said...

This sounds really intriguing. I like Bill and the idea of a husband and wife team writing Westerns sounds irresistible.

Laurie said...

Congratulations, Steve! You've been nominated for the Creative Writer (aka the Bald Faced Liar) Award! Go to my blog: http:lauriepowerswildwest.blogspot.com for details.