Dan Sloane

Created by Lewis Shiner

DAN SLOANE was a private eye hero created way back in the late seventies by author Lewis Shiner, best known for his award-winning work in the science fiction and cyber-punk fields.

A true product of his times, Dan was a disillusioned Vietnam vet, a Marine who came home after the war, angry and bitter, looking for something but never quite sure what. He went to Berkeley on the GI Bill, while working for the Pinkerton agency. After graduation, he kept working for the Pinks, putting in the time until he could apply for his own P.I. ticket.

Eventually he does strike out on his own, opening a small agency, but "it was 1971 and the magic that was Berkeley was dead, along with the magic of everything else."

He moves back to his hometown of Austin, where "the work wasn't much better," but has decided to make do. He's looking his age, he admits, but he's reached the age "where that was no bargain any more."

It's good stuff, and anyone partial to hard-boiled detective fiction from that era ought to check them out.

Unfortunately, the Sloane stories never set the world on fire. Only one was ever published (in Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine), although that had more to do with bad timing and bad luck than the quality of the writing. They represent some of Shiner's earliest works, and if they're a little rough and ragged, they also deliver plenty of -- as the title of the book that finally rounded up all the Sloane stories put it -- "Private Eye Action As You Like It..."

But that's not all folks. That 1998 collection also boasted early detective fiction by Shiner's buddy, Joe R. Lansdale, creator of Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, featuring his early private eye hero, Ray Slater, as well as two stories featuring yet another private eye, John Talbot, co-created by both Lansdale and Shiner. It's a fascinating look at some of the earliest work of these two Texas authors, and a pretty damn good example of the shamus game, circa 1978 or so.


  • "Deep Without Pity" (June 1980, MSMM)

  • "The Killing Season" (1998, Private Eye Action... As You Like It)

  • "Prodigal Son" (1998, Private Eye Action... As You Like It)


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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