JAMES M. REASONER – Texas Wind. Manor, paperback original, 1980. Point Blank, softcover, 2004.

   Rumor has it that Manor has gone bankrupt. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but the fact remains that I haven’t seen any of their product in over a year, and distribution was pretty good around here before that.

   And I have never seen this book anywhere for sale. If James Reasoner hadn’t sent me a copy personally, I’d have never seen it period. All this leads me to the fairly safe conclusion that if you haven’t obtained a copy for yourself by now, you probably won’t.

   It’s a pity, too, because it just may be the best book Manor ever published. They evidently never knew what they had either, because the back of the book is filled with ads for their western novels.

   And this is a private eye book, for crying out loud. Cody’s home town is Fort Worth, and I guess maybe he wears cowboy boots, but that’s about it. He’s hired to find a missing daughter, who maybe has run off with her best friend’s boy friend — or has she been kidnapped?

   There are a few false notes here (one of which led me into thinking up a whole new ending), and I thought Cody’s love affair with Janice, the new light of his life, came on too fast, but Reasoner has a deceptively smooth, easy-to-read style that helps you forget you’ve read hundreds of stories like this a hundred times over.

   Never really flashy in any sense of the word, but a solid job through and through.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 5, No. 5, Sept-Oct 1981.

[UPDATE] 03-28-15.   I was correct about the Manor edition becoming a collectible. The last time I looked, which was 10 minutes ago, there was not a single copy available for sale on the Internet. Luckily a softcover edition was published a short while ago, and I’m sure it’s also available online as an ebook.

   I’ve not read the book since I wrote the review above, and now that I’ve reminded myself of that unfortunate fact, I intend to do something to do about that as soon as I can.