Crider’s prose slices through conventions and expectations,” –Booklist
OUTRAGE AT BLANCO
It’s True Grit meets Gran Torino in a blazingly original crime novel from Bill Crider, an Edgar and Shamus finalist and a two-time winner of the Anthony Award
On a bloody day in 1887, death came to Blanco, Texas.
Before the sun went down, the livery stable was torched, an outlaw gang robbed the bank, two men were killed, and young newlywed Ellie Taine was raped. One of the dead was the man who planned the robbery – the son of dying, legendary Texas Ranger Jonathan Crossland – the other was Ellie’s husband, an innocent bystander.
The dead don’t know fear.
Ellie is dead inside. She takes a gun and rides out after the desperadoes, cold-blooded and fearless, determined to kill the men who ruined her life. She’s joined by Jonathan Crossland, who only has days left to live… but would rather die in his saddle making amends for his son than rot in his bed. Together, Ellie and Jonathan set out on a mission of vengeance and justice, one that neither of them expects nor hopes to survive.
“In the hands of Bill Crider, noir seems as atmospheric and doomful as ever,” Publisher’s Weekly
"Bill Crider is one of the most unpretentious and versatile pure entertainers in the mystery field." Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
A 1998 book from Bill Crider and an absolute blast. A dark Western-cum-crime novel that starts ferociously with an attack and rape of Ellie Taine and never really lets up throughout.
Naively and ill-equipped for the task in hand, Ellie’s husband sets out after the culprits and soon perishes whilst they are in the middle of a bank robbery. Something inside Ellie has broken and she decides to pursue the gang herself and get herself a bit of frontier justice.
Great time frame and setting for this, interesting plot which soon sees Ellie teaming up with Jonathan Crossland – a man with more than foot in the grave already – on their chase, an interesting bunch of characters, not the least of which is Irish villain, Daniel O’Grady. O’Grady is the most likeable of our bunch of desperadoes and didn't have any involvement in the earlier rape. Moments of humour as well, especially when our thieves fall out and cross paths again.
Whilst empathising with Ellie Taine and wanting her to achieve closure, I had a hankering for O’Grady to live to fight another day. A satisfactory ending that ticked all the boxes for me.
5 from 5 and a scratch of the head, where has Bill Crider been all my reading life?
Crider originally had this published back in 1998. He released a follow up – Texas Vigilante in 1999. One to keep an eye out for I think.
Bill Crider has been a fairly prolific author over the years with a 20 plus book series starring Sheriff Dan Rhodes, as well as many others. I do wish I had discovered him 10 years ago though.
His website is here.
I got hold of Outrage at Blanco via Net Galley. One of my favourite publishers - Brash Books have brought this and Texas Vigilante back into print.