I think James W. Hall is a terrific poet and his “Bones of Coral” featuring Thorne, his protagonist, one of the best Florida crime novels ever written. We’ve corresponded over the years and he shared my publisher. I lived in Ft. Lauderdale for a while and I know he was living in Miami. This was during the hey-day of the cocaine trade in south Florida and those were weird times to say the least. I’m sure he learned as much as I did about crime and its south Florida milieu and soaked up the dialogue from being around the neighborhoods and reading newspapers. I’ve always been proud that he liked my books.
“Schedule Two is a wonderful book, full of gritty lyricism and the tough music of urban street life. The characters are rich, three dimensional, heartbreakingly true. This is a fast, no-nonsense ride on the cutting edge of crime fiction. As scary and realistic as any book I’ve read in years.”
James W. Hall
Author of “Bones of Coral”
Larry Brown is dead now but he was a terrific writer through his first two or three books. My connection to him came through Watermark Books in Wichita, Kansas where he came to give readings and hang out. Those were heady literary days—the late 1970s when new raw talent was bursting on the scene, writers like Richard Ford and Raymond Carver. Larry wrote me some long letters and I could tell he was struggling to stay on course with his writing, in light of his drinking. His later books sagged a lot and I’m sure he was disappointed with his own lack of discipline. But he was a very good guy and stuff like Dirty Work rank up there with the best of Terry Southern and Barry Hannah.
“Dear Gaylord, thanks for sending Schedule Two. I read a whole lot of it today when I should have been working, and now that it’s almost midnight my work is over and I’m going up to the living room to read some more of it. Your characters are really great as are your insights into them. I wish I could write these kinds of novels. You really make the streets and sounds come alive. It’s all so visual. I just finished the part where they hung the three rabbit heads around Grace’s neck and I can’t wait to read the rest of it. Take care, bro.”
Author of “Dirty Work” and “Big Bad Love”
Sometimes things happen serendipitously and my epistolary relationship with Roy Huggins was like that. What can one say about Roy Huggins—everybody knows he created Maverick and the Rockford Files and the Fugitive. Even I knew that! But early in the 1970s I was traveling the country stopping at bookstores and junk shops to buy vintage paperbacks and I ran across a couple by Roy Huggins. Wow, what a find. I decided to write Mr. Huggins out of the blue and contacted the screen writer’s guild, who gave me an address. Roy wrote back right away in response to my offer to send him a couple of his pulps from the 1940s. After that, we kept up a correspondence for several years until his death. He told me about his experiences in the movies, working for Columbia and the evil and weird Harry Cohn. One time Roy was set to direct a crime picture starring Fred MacMurray and was given an unknown named Kim Novak as a co-star. Roy didn’t think she had anything, so Cohn threw him off the picture. Roy laughed in his letter, thinking how he’d missed that call! He’s greatly missed.
“I read Bonepile with great interest and pleasure. It is a beautifully told and well constructed story.”
Producer, creator of “Maverick”, the “Fugitive” etc.
Everybody now knows the work of Daniel Woodrell, especially after the success of the movie version of Winter’s Bone. I knew Daniel through Watermark Books again, and he was one of those rising stars who came to the bookstore for a reading. We shared a similar background because my family largely came out of southeast Kansas and western Arkansas and my mother’s family all lived in southern Missouri, hill country. When I asked Daniel to read Schedule Two he did it as a favor. Comparing that book to the classic Robert Stone Dog Soldiers is one of the greatest compliments ever paid me. Thanks Daniel.
To me it seems in a league with Dog Soldiers…What makes Schedule Two a terrific novel is Gaylord Dold’s singular prose and lacerating insights. He draws characters of a variety of backgrounds and draws them beautifully, with depth and grace, and it is beguiling to watch them spin, caught as they are in the pitiless web of the tale he tells. Simply masterful.
Daniel Woodrell, author of “Give us a Kiss” and
Vince Kohler was a crime novelist and journalist at the Portland Oregonian. He was an early champion of my work and we corresponded often. He choose a couple of my books as “crime novels of the year”. Vince wasn’t an old guy, so it was a shock to find out from his wife (I’d written him another letter) that he died. I couldn’t believe it.
The new entry in Gaylord Dold’s long running Mitch Roberts private eye series has the subtlety of Graham Green and the sinew of John D. MacDonald, with a dash of Lawrence Durrell’s fever dreams tossed in. Creepy ambiguity, tropical heat, and polished writing combine to make this a memorable mystery novel.
The Portland Oregonian
Needless to say, George V. Higgins is a classic crime novelist. One time in the 1980s I was doing a big legal case in Wichita and one of the lawyers was a drinking buddy of Higgins. He offered to put me in touch. Of course, I said great! Higgins read and blurbed Bay of Sorrows and I’m glad he did. He’s gone now, but I consider The Friends of Eddie Coyle and the Robert Mitchum movie made from it, indelible American classics.
Tom Poole is a fine character, slouching clear-eyed into evil knowing that it’s going to hurt.
George V. Higgins
Author of “The Friends of Eddie Coyle”
What can I say to thank Loren Estleman? He’s a pro and he gave me my start complimenting my early Mitch Roberts novels and putting me in touch with my first agent, Ray Peekner. Ray sold my first book. Two years later Ray was dead of a brain tumor. Both Loren and I were devastated. Ray had done wonders for Loren and I know Ray’s passing hurt.
Mitch Roberts is one of the more likeable heroes who have taken up the gun and the plastic badge in recent years. Dold writes like a mortal saint. He’s as good as anyone I’ve ever read and better than most.
Loren D. Estleman
Bill Pronzini is another old pro who helped me early on. Thanks, Bill. I actually showed up at Bill’s door in San Francisco in the early days and he let me in. We talked old paperbacks, crime fiction and lots of things. He helped me into the world of private eye fiction.
Mitch Roberts is a complex and believable character, one readers will want to know better and so will follow from book to book—Bill Pronzini
I consider Six White Horses my favorite Gaylord Dold novel for stylistic and personal reasons both. I had read Charles Bowden’s Blue Desert and loved the book. Through friends in Tucson, I contacted Bowden who read Six White Horses and enjoyed it a lot. Bowden is a brave guy, traveling along the Mexico border—both sides, and writing the truth.
A fine brew of Mexico, Southern California, and the various drugs we all need and swallow to keep this charade going.”
Author of “Blue Desert” and “Juarez”