Showing posts from September, 2017

REVIEW - High Priest of California by Charles Willeford

This one is tricky. 
The main character, Russell Haxby, is just a piece of shit. 
He's not really a criminal, but he's definitely a conman of the highest order. And it's not like there's even some greater purpose to his cons, he just does them. 
There's no long-term endgame in sight for him. If he can take advantage of someone, Russell Haxby is going to do it. And of course he's a used car salesman. 
Without spoiling the story, the target of his main con here is Alyce, a young woman with some baggage that needs to be dealt with before Russell can properly, ahem, date her. And yes, that means exactly what you think it means. 
That's it. No big heist. No big rip off. No big cover up. Just a wolf on the prowl with a sheep in his cross hairs. 
 The writing here is compelling in its simplicity. Willeford drives through the plot here with no sentimentality or fluff. This happens, then this happens, so this happens, so Russell does this, so something else happens. The s…

Review: Texas by The Tail by Jim Thompson

Texas by The Tail seems to earn a mixed reaction from Thompson fans. It's a good one. It's not S-Tier Thompson, but it's not the hot mess some folks may try to convince you it is either. It's a solid upper-mid tier range output. Closer to mid, if we're being honest. It's a gate-keeper for the upper echelon.

Unfortunately, Texas by the Tail suffers from following The Grifters (a bedrock of the S-Tier), and unnecessarily draws comparisons to it. On the surface there's a lot of overlap. Stories about con men with troubled relationships with women, including the older women who serve as fill-ins for the protagonist's unusual relationship with a floozy mother.

Short of the surface-level thematic overlap, Texas by the Tail stands on its own. Fans of the super dark worlds Thompson creates may be disappointed here, but there are moments of Thompson's trademark viciousness -- in particular a scene where two effete hoods go to shakedown a lady. Rough stuff t…