Created by Chap O'Keefe (pseudonym of Keith Chapman)
Former Pinkerton op JOSHUA DILLARD is something of a drifter, wandering the Old West, occasionally picking up a job as a gun for hire (he occasionally refers to himself as a "range detective" when he's "in the mood to put on airs"), in a popular series of books by western writer Chap O'Keefe.
One of the highlights of the series is Blast to Oblivion (2009), a clever reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes novel The Valley of Fear (with a healthy chunk of Hammett's Red Harvest blended right into the mix), with the author doubling down on the hard-boiled aspects aspects of the original and turning it into an honest-to-God, rootin' tootin' Western. Josh drifts into Denver, and ends up being hired by a woman to look into the murder (by double-barrelled shotgun) of her brother. The trail eventually leads Dillard to the Poisonville-like mining town of Silverville, Colorado, and the usual toxic brew of corruption, greed, lust, and violence. But with horses.
Something of a cult favourite at the time of its 2009 release, Blast of Oblivion was re-issued in 2016 by western and crime author James Reasoner's Rough Edges Press, with a new afterword by the author about the novel's origins, and a cover by Reasoner's wife, Livia Washburn, who's no stranger to the shamus game herself.
The book even received a few thumbs-up from Sherlockians, drawing praise from such sources as The Sherlock Holmes Society of London and The Baker Street Irregulars of New York.
Keith Chapman worked as a fiction writer and editor in London during the 1960s, before relocating to New Zealand where he worked as a journalist for over thirty years. In 1992 he returned to fiction under the O'Keefe pen name. O'Keefe and his family continue to live in Auckland, New Zealand.
-- Charles Rutledge
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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