cover image Bloody Season

Bloody Season

Loren D. Estleman / Author, Loren D. Estelman / Author Bantam

Winner of three Golden Spur Awards, Estleman here tells of the legendary gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1881 Tombstone, Ariz., but the novel is a curious mixture of impressionism and straight history. Most readers won't be able to sort out the dozens of characters until close to the end, which is a pity because Estleman, master of the hardboiled western (and mystery) story, has a terrific way of grabbing our attentionthe first sentence is a shockerand keeping us turning pages. The plot concerns the political and financial wranglings that ensued after the famous shoot-out (which was not in the O.K. Corral), an event that not only made Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers notorious but made them targets as well. Estleman displays solid historical knowledge and his usual deft writing. The charactersespecially Holliday, an alcoholic, tubercular woman-beater, and Wyatt Earp, a dandified womanizer interested mainly in moneyspring indelibly to life. The feel, sights and smellsof 1881 Tombstone are beautifully etched in this flawed but compulsively readable gem. (January)