Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Gun Trail

Bill Crider posted about this book a few days ago and made it sound so intriguing that I had to read it, too. I've been a fan of H.A. DeRosso's work for several years now. THE GUN TRAIL is probably the bleakest thing I've read by him so far. While reading it, the thought occurred to me that DeRosso is the anti-L'Amour. He uses the same sort of standard Western plots that Louis L'Amour (and hundreds of other Western writers) used and still use. DeRosso just turns them upside-down and gives his characters all sorts of moral conflicts and emotional torment. You can see why he was never hugely successful, going against the grain like that, and to be honest, as much as I like his books, I wouldn't want a steady diet of them, either. But anybody who likes hardboiled or noir fiction should definitely seek out DeRosso's books. THE GUN TRAIL hasn't been reprinted yet, but several of his other novels and a couple of short story collections are readily available in hardback and large print editions from libraries and as paperbacks from Leisure.


Anonymous said...

My copy arrived today. I am looking forward to reading. Bill hasn't steered me wrong yet.

Lee Goldberg

Anonymous said...

Hey James!
I'm enjoying the heck lurking around your blog. Years ago Bill Pronzini turned me into a DeRosso fanatic and agree that he's the darkest western writer I've ever read (coming in just ahead of Steve Frazee, who wrote my favorite western of all time, He Rode Alone). Anyway, just wanted to let you know that The Gun Trail WAS reprinted in 1957 by Lion as The Man from Texas. -Peter Enfantino