The Old Gray Wolf

James D. Doss. Minotaur, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-61371-6
The 17th and last Charlie Moon mystery (after 2011’s Coffin Man) from Doss (1939–2012) forms a fitting capstone to this offbeat western series. When purse-snatcher LeRoy Hooten expires shortly after Charlie’s friend Scott Parris, the police chief of Granite City, Colo., hits LeRoy in the head with a can of black-eyed peas, the late criminal’s mother, a wealthy mob widow, puts a mysterious assassin known as the Cowboy on Scott and Charlie’s trail. Doss spins out a slight plot, otherwise preoccupied with the ominous visions of Charlie’s irascible shaman aunt, Daisy Perika, and would-be bounty hunter Louella Smithson up to its surprisingly bloody conclusion, with a folksy, humorously digressive storytelling style as old-school as his western lawmen heroes. Some readers will find it hokey, but Doss’s fans will enjoy a final chance to explore a world that offers glimpses of real-life Ute culture as well as violence that falls somewhere between Cormac McCarthy and Tex Avery. Agent: Rich Henshaw, the Richard Henshaw Group. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/03/2012
Release date: 10/30/2012
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