Wesley Farrell

Created by Robert Skinner

"... she was enough to make a Baptist minister drink swamp water, crawl inside a hollow log, and bay at the moon."

-- from Daddy's Gone A-Hunting

WESLEY FARRELL is a successful nightclub owner and sometime-private eye, "passing for white" in Depression-era New Orleans in this critically acclaimed series. Farrell's a vivid and intriguing character, very ambivalent about his own racial status, determined to keep it a secret, yet not shy about using that ambivalence if he must to move around easily in either black or white society. He's also on the fringes of the law, bending and twisting the rules, when it suits him, and more than willing to use a little violence to get to the point.

A colourful setting, a sharp eye for the telling local detail and Skinner's deft hand with the Chandleresque similes brings New Orleans alive in all its steamy glory, and the sense of community and strong characterizations (including his lady-love, Savanna Beaulieu) add weight to the series, at times reminiscent of Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins books.

The first book in the series, Skin Deep, Blood Red (1997), was nominated for the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, and both it and its sequel, 1998's Cat-Eyed Trouble, received heaps of critical praise, so his publisher dropped him. Are these guys morons or what?

Fortunately, Poisoned Pen Press decided to pick up the series for the third book, Daddy's Gone A-Hunting, and this promising series was saved.

The author, whose middle initial seems to wander from "E" to "F," has a BA in American History from Old Dominion University and a Master of Library Science Degree from Indiana University, and studied creative writing at University of New Orleans. Beyond the six novels in the Wesley Farrellseries, he has written or co-written several non-fiction books on hard-boiled detective fiction and particularly on Chester Himes, the creator of Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones. He's listed in Who's Who In America, Who's Who in the World and The Directory of American Scholars, and in 2013 retired as University Librarian at Xavier University of Louisiana after 26 years. Among his books are Conversations with Chester Himes (1995, co-written by Michel Fabre), The Hard-Boiled Explicator: A Guide to the Study of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald (1995), Two Guns From Harlem: The Detective Fiction of Chester Himes (1989) and The New Hard-Boiled Dicks: Heroes for a New Urban Mythology (1992).

NOVELS

RELATED LINKS

A collectiuon of New Orleans and Louisiana eyes.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Suggested by O'Neil De Noux, who writes about a New Orleans P.I., Lucien Caye.


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