Created by Lewis Shiner
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.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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