Saturday, April 5, 2014


Bill Crider fills 1987's Shotgun Saturday Night with action.

Blacklin County, Texas Sheriff Dan Rhodes lets the bad guys and their women overpower him at least three times. A couple of times they use ax handles on him. One time Rhodes' seemingly-staid girlfriend saves them with her motorcycle-riding skills.

If I remember correctly, women help to save Rhodes all three times.

Shotgun Saturday Night starts when someone shotguns a local handyman on an otherwise quiet Saturday night. Later there is another murder.

A motorcycle gang is operating in the county. They run a hidden marijuana trade originating in Blacklin County. Rhodes' usually-staid work (his officers spend their time changing light bulbs for little old ladies and corralling drunks) becomes interesting. And the story goes from there.

It took me a while to figure it out, but Shotgun Saturday Night is a pastiche, a serious but humorous take off on the small-county-sheriff sub-genre of the mystery story. Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire series is the best-known current example of this kind of story.

Crider fills Shotgun Saturday Night with movie references. Several of the book's scenes come directly from the movies. And some of the characters refer to mystery novels, especially the Ed McBain 87th Precinct stories.

Rhodes even thinks about naming his adopted dog Carella. (He finally chooses the name Speedo.)

For some reason, over all these years, I missed Bill Crider. When I saw this book offered at a bargain price on Kindle, I didn't know what the Dan Rhodes series was.

I enjoyed this book. It was short, entertaining, and well-written. I have already started on the first book in the Dan Rhodes series, Too Late to Die.


Bill Crider said...

Thanks, Joe!

Joe Barone said...

Bill, I loved the book and will read more.