Created by Patrick Culhane (pseud. of Max Allan Collins)
Brave, courageous and bold... and a P.I.
WYATT EARP, of course, was a real person, a legendary lawman in the Old West. Dime novels, movies, TV and radio -- they've all covered the shootout at the O.K. Corral. Yada yada yada...
But Earp didn't make like your typical western hero and simply ride off into the sunset. He dusted himself off and eventually became a private eye in 1920s Los Angeles. Really!
And its this little-known and largely unexamined period of Earp's life that writer Patrick Culhane (actually our pal Max Allan Collins) has imagined in his 2007 novel Black Hats, the first in a proposed series of historical mysteries, with his usual two-fisted approach to historical crime. Improbable as it seems, Earp goes into action, traveling across country to New York City for a showdown with Al Capone in his pre-Chicago days, at the urging of Doc Holliday's widow, Big Nosed Kate. Along the way, Earp even hooks up with another old lawman, his pal Bat Masterson, to confront the soon-to-be-notorious gangster.
Preposterous? Far-fetched? Hogwash? As usual, thanks to his meticulous research and story-telling muscle, Collins brings it all home, making a convincing case. You will believe.
Hey, it coulda happened!
Fans of Collins' Nate Heller series, historical cime fiction, westerns or just ripping good yarns, should stand up and take notice. There's a new sheriff in town.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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