WILLIAM L. DeANDREA – Written in Fire. Quinn Booker & Lobo Blacke #1. Walker & Co., hardcover, 1995. No paperback edition.

   I don’t know if Bill DeAndrea is “hot” or not, but he sure isn’t having any trouble getting books published. This is the third in the last year or so, and that’s not counting Encyclopedia Mysteriosa. I like his writing more than a lot of fans seem to, both in his books and in TAD. He doesn’t write Books for the Ages (or try to), but most of his stories are entertaining and go down smoothly.

   Quinn Booker is a journalist from New York in the late 1800s who has written a very profitable biography of a famous Western lawman, Lobo Blacke. Blacke is crippled now, and runs a newspaper in Wyoming. His mission in what remains of his life is to find the man who shot and crippled him, and he asks Booker to come West and help him. Booker does, but their quest for vengeance is postponed somewhat (or is it?) when a visiting famous photographer is killed. The West is still wild.

   DeAndrea is just a damned good storyteller-and that’s the primary quality I look for in genre fiction. He can adapt his narrative voice to whatever kind of story he is telling, and make it sound right. His characters are likable and believable. And uncommonly for this day and time, he does not use more words than his story requires.

   I enjoyed this a lot. I think Booker and Blacke are two of DeAndrea’s better creations, and I very much look forward to seeing more of them.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #21, August-September 1995


Bibliographic Update: There was to be only one additional book in the series, The Fatal Elixir (1997), published the year after DeAndrea’s death. He was only 44.