Created by James M. Reasoner
Fort Worth private eye CODY, for those of you who haven't had the pleasure, is a sort of Texan Lew Archer with a little Spenser -- and a lot of brooding -- tossed in. He's in his early forties, well-educated, and prone to contemplation and often poetic turns of phrase. He's not real big on the whole Texas-cowboy-man's gotta do what a man's gotta do mythos, although he does tend to favor cowboy boots and jeans. And, unlike ol' Lew, Cody seems to be able to hold on to a relationship--notably with the lovely and classy Janice Bryant. He works out of an office on Camp Bowie Boulevard.
Cody's only novel-length appearance, 1980's Texas Wind, is considered by many to be one of the best private eye novels ever written. Originally released by a small, soon-forgotten publisher, Manor Books, it remained out-of-print and expensive as hell (when you could find it) for over two decades, despite the fact that it caused quite an initial buzz, with folks driving all over Fort Worth looking for the sites mentioned in the book. (Fortunately, in 2004, someone finally got the idea of reprinting the book, and even made a digital version available).
Cody appeared in a handful of short stories in the eighties, and they're all pretty much top-rate, worth tracking down, even if they don't quite reach the heights of the novel.
Mind you, Reasoner's no stranger to short fiction. He also wrote a series of stories about another private eye Markham, and with his wife, fellow crime writer L.J. Washburn (creator of private eye Lucas Hallam) wrote or co-wrote thirty-seven Mike Shayne stories under the pseudonym of Brett Halliday for Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine at one time. They've also collaborated on Tie a Black Ribbon, a novel featuring bouncer/P.I. Skeeter Barlow. And Reasoner has also done a series of Westerns featuring Judge Earl Stark, a former stage coach guard who becomes a judge.
Reasoner is still writing, but mostly work for hire in the Western historical vein with his wife under several names, covering everything from three Walker, Texas Ranger novels based on the TV series and an ambitious 10-volume series highlighting famous American Civil war battles to his popular Longarm and Trailsman westerns. A defiant defender of the pulp work ethic, in October 2017 he wrote on his blog:
--opening lines from Texas Wind
TALES FROM OUT OF SCHOOL
James Reasoner's blog.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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