Death Lit: Rolling Country by Joseph Hirsch

rollingMentioning Willeford lately courtesy the In Memoriam Palm Sunday Tour reminds me that I’ve been meaning to blurb Rolling Country by Joseph Hirsch. Read it awhile back, was thinking about doing it up for Halloween, but then something came along to derail the blog impulse.

(If days and weeks have slipped past recently with no new posts, we can lay the blame on a John D. Haefele project I encouraged him to do — figuring I was an instigator, why not sign on to proofread one PDF after another, shoving to the side almost everything else? That one is almost ready to pop — though now I’m worried I might experience Haefele Proofreading Withdrawal. . . . HPW — whoa. Almost HPL, but that one is in the pipeline, too.)

Halloween would have been an apt season for the Rolling Country blurb, because it is quite horrific and squishy. A serial killer, knives, viscera — none of which bothers me, but more sedate crime fiction readers might wince a lot. Still, nothing fans of the genre shouldn’t expect. Strictly as a serial killer deal, look it up, if you’re a fan.

But if you recall, Joe came into the Mean Streets action because he’s a big Willeford fan, and I couldn’t help but notice that this novel seems to be something of a tribute to Miami Blues — or a Miami Blues variant might be a better way to put it. Both novels feature a trio of main characters: a Psycho, A Young Hooker, a World-Weary Lawman.

The Hirsch novel isn’t a carbon copy of Miami Blues by any means — less humor, in general, but the major themes all seem to be in play.

(Interstate trucking is a major aspect of the action, and I almost got to thinking: Could this angle be in tribute to the trucker lore Willeford tosses into his San Francisco novel Wild Wives? That’s probably a stretch, but I was impressed that the main thing Willeford remembered about that novel, a few decades after writing it, was how truckers signaled and made the road their territory.)

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