Culture & Criticism Since 2003
Westerns are not easy to pull off. For the genre to work in print, the writing and the characters must be swift and deep. Moreover, the plot must flow effortlessly and captivate completely. In sum, the whole thing has to play like a movie. And that’s just what Loren Estleman accomplishes here with Long High Noon. In the novel, we meet Randy Locke and Frank Farmer – two cowboys who have spent the better part of their lives trying to destroy one another. After awhile, the feuding becomes just another part of the landscape. But then someone gets an idea: Let’s put the duel on center stage and advertise the bloodshed. Let’s make death an event. Estleman’s writing here is truly notable: Bouncing from the playful to the profound in a journey that takes the reader on a ride across all four sides of the old west. If legendary film director Sam Peckinpah – himself a true master of the western – were alive today, Long High Noon would certainly catch his attention.