Review: "Texas Wind" by James Reasoner

Texas Wind
by James Reasoner
The Book Place, 2010

James Reasoner’s first novel, Texas Wind, is a great hardboiled private eye tale set in Fort Worth, Texas in the late-1970s. It was originally published by the stingy and unethical Manor Books in 1980; “stingy and unethical” because most writers had to threaten the editor’s life or hire a lawyer to get paid. The writer and critic, Ed Gorman, called Texas Wind, “one of the finest private eye novels I’ve ever read…” and its narrative simplicity, its powerful and laconic and apt social commentary, and the vividly realized North Texas setting give his statement credibility.
     Cody is an everyman. The kind of guy you see in the grocery store, at the bar, washing his car on the weekend. When the wealthy Gloria Traft approaches Cody to find her missing college age step-daughter, Mandy, Cody reluctantly agrees to take the job. His hesitance is simple: most adult runaways want to disappear, or they reappear within a few days no worse off than when they left. The clues quickly lead Cody to think Mandy fell in love and ran off with a boy, but Gloria talks him into locating Mandy to ensure she is safe. But things turn sideways when another interested player shows himself.
     Texas Wind is a marvelous slice of what life must have been like in the Texas of the 1970s. Reasoner’s simple and powerful descriptive passages breathe life into the city—Fort Camp Bowie Blvd, Trinity Park, the Amon Carter Museum of Modern Art all make appearances—and Cody’s careful observations about the people inhabiting this world, which is a proxy for our own, are add flavor and a little meaning. The story is slam-bang from the first page to the last, too. My regret for this book—and it is a significant regret—is that I waited so long to read it.

Go here for the Kindle version and here for the paperback edition at Amazon.


Popular Posts