California Literary Review


Trailer Watch: Django Unchained


June 7th, 2012

After countless musical and stylistic hints in films like Kill Bill and em>Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino has finally helmed a full-blown Western, bearing the provocative title Django Unchained.

Book Review: Doc by Mary Doria Russell


May 28th, 2011

It is the daily struggle of life that blights the lives of Russell’s protagonists. Ill-health and empty wallets are a greater danger than a Cheyenne raid. For Doc Holliday, the enemy is tuberculosis, a cruel, cunning disease that truly consumes him, body and — steadily, stealthily — soul. During a brief period of remission, Doc rides out to the surrounding prairie and experiences an epiphany of what life, during a good spell, can offer.

Tom Russell: American Primitive Man


December 13th, 2010

Every Tom Russell song has something to say about the human heart. In each voice he invokes there are universal echoes of love, doubt, weakness, fear, restlessness and faith. The figure of the wanderer – whether soldier, cowboy, nomad, pioneer, outcast or pilgrim – passes again and again through his work.

The Collected Short Stories of Louis L’Amour


January 30th, 2008

If you meet a quiet, rugged kind of a fella with an almost superhuman knowledge of tracking, botany, and the lawful ways of the West, don’t challenge him in a gunfight. You’ll lose. Keep an eye out for smooth-talking, rich, and handsome men. They’re not to be trusted and they never end tidily. But a trim girl with smiling eyes who knows how to ride a horse, be she a reformed prostitute or a rancher’s daughter…well, expect to see her settling down any day now.

The Works of Max Crawford


April 24th, 2007

Being a serious writer in a time when swill by corrupt business tycoons, politicians and not-funny comics generates advances well into seven figures is difficult, frustrating and at times disheartening.

Stewball – by Peter Bowen


April 24th, 2007

I’ll begin by saying that I enjoyed immensely the first seven or eight novels in Peter Bowen’s unique Gabriel DuPre detective series.

The Big Country: How the West Finally Won


March 26th, 2007

It’s not a classic in the sense of Casablanca or Citizen Kane, but it’s a kind of cinematic cipher. It opens your eyes to the possibilities still inherent in the Western and shows you its true star. Not a man on a horse or a gunfighter at high noon, but the West itself.

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