Tuesday, June 23, 2020

City of Widows by Loren D. Estleman

I turned in time to see the last of perhaps a dozen women step off the boardwalk on the other side of the street and turn in the direction of the mission. They were dressed all in black from bonnets to shoes, their black hems dragging like crows’ wings in the dust of the street. One or two fingered rosaries; the rest clutched their shawls at the throat and stared straight ahead as they walked, moving with a kind of bicycling gait that raised a yellow plume in their wake. The group swept along like some low-hanging cloud and seemed to drain the life from everything it passed.

One of Estelman’s long-running Page Murdock series which, like Max Allan Collins’ PI Nate Heller series, places a fictional protagonist in the midst of well-researched actual events and personages.

Estleman has been around a long time and I’ll admit there is some of his work that strikes me cold while professional and at others, this being one of them, he strikes me as one of the best in the genre.
This is a mighty entertaining genre Western well above the standard formulaic fare.

I can offer no better praise than the blurb on the cover of the paperback copy from Elmore “Dutch” Leonard himself.

“I was going to see how City of Widows opens and read 55 pages. It’s a honey.”

It is indeed.

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