Friday, March 31, 2017

Bill Crider, Piano Man (A Short Story)


Bill Crider, Piano Man
Brash Books © 2014 by Bill Crider
ISBN:  3-978-1941-2982-99

Our narrator is a piano player in the Bad Dog Saloon in a settlement (it might be too much to call it a town) near Fort Laramie.  The story of how he became a piano player, and wound up in the Bad Dog is quickly and well told.  And things become both interesting, and potentially disastrous, when “a man named Morgan” got involved in a poker game with the owner of the saloon—and put his 15-year-old daughter up as his stake on a hand.  He lost, of course.

The remainder of the story involves the Piano Man’s reactions to this event, and Morgan’s efforts to reclaim his daughter.  And the longer this takes, the more violent things get.

This was, for me, something different by Crider; I have basically not read his westerns, having instead been a devoted reader of his PI books (Truman Smith and others), his college mysteries (the Carl Burns and Sally Good books), and his long-running series featuring Sheriff Dan Rhodes.  Crider writes very well, and if the conclusion holds less in the way of surprise that it might, this is a good, solid, and disturbing read.  Worth the time (and money) to seek out.

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