Visit me on the Fire Star Press Blog and share your favorite holiday rituals, traditions, and reads!
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Friday, June 28, 2019
In 1986, Bill Crider published his first Sheriff Dan Rhodes novel, TOO LATE TO DIE. But did you know that was not the original title he had in mind for the book? He originally titled it TOO LATE TO CRY, and at some point in the book, Rhodes tells one of the characters that it’s too late to cry now. However, the publisher thought TOO LATE TO CRY sounded too much like the title for a romance novel, so they reworked it to TOO LATE TO DIE, which didn’t make much sense (after all, when is it too late to die?), but maybe sounded better for a crime/mystery novel. Everything worked out okay as the novel won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, and Dad went on to treat us to 24 more Sheriff Rhodes novels.
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Visit me on the Fire Star Press Blog where I take a tour of Dashiell Hammett's hardboiled streets of San Francisco.
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Visit me today on the Fire Star Press Blog where I talk about an interesting Easter egg I recently found in my father's last short story, "Tell the Bees," which you can find in Down & Out: The Magazine Vol., Issue 2.
Billy Crider and his colorful bee hive boxes
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
That Old Scoundrel Death releases today. For over 30 years, fans of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery series have grown to know and love the stoic, easygoing sheriff and the cast of quirky Texas characters created by Bill Crider. It is with a heavy heart that I write this review of the last Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery.
Crider brings his usual subtle wit and laid-back, small-town charm to this final installment, and it doesn’t fail to please. When a stranger turns up murdered in an old schoolhouse, Rhodes has his work cut out for him. Making things more complicated is the fact that the community is battling over whether to raze the schoolhouse or preserve it for historical purposes. There are a host of suspects for the sheriff to whittle down, including meth-heads, local outlaws, as well as a rancher, wealthy community members, and an esteemed military family, all of whom think they’re above the law, and Crider keeps you guessing as to the identity of the perp throughout the story. Crider was known to say that he didn’t know, himself, “who dunnit” until near the end of his writing process, so perhaps that explains how he keeps the reader in suspense.
Ironically, Sheriff Rhodes contemplates retirement throughout the book - Are his lawman skills slipping? Is his heart still in the job? Unfortunately for the readers, we’ll never know how serious the sheriff was about not running for reelection. The book’s title from the General Douglas MacArthur quote is apropos of some of the themes in the book, as well as eerily apt for Crider’s last book - that old scoundrel death had him on the ropes. It’s comforting to know that Crider left us with such a wonderful legacy of entertainment. This book is a delightful end to the series, and perhaps knowing it is the last one makes it all the more enjoyable.