Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Long Night of Winchell Dear Paperback – June 26, 2007
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
Waller, of The Bridges of Madison County fame, takes readers to the unforgiving terrain of south Texas in his 10th novel. Seventy-seven-year-old Winchell Dear has made a good life for himself as an honest poker player, including acquiring his 45,000-acre ranch (named "Two Pair" in honor of the hand he bluffed to win the land). So when his gambler's sixth sense tells him trouble is in the air, Winchell tucks a gun into his boot and waits out whatever's on the way. Meanwhile, a Mexican drug mule hurries to meet his connection, Sonia Dominguez, who also works as Winchell's housekeeper; a diamondback snake that proves pivotal to the plot slithers through the scrub grass; Peter Long Grass, a Native American squatting on the ranch, watches everyone from the shadows; and a pair of hit men in a cream-colored Lincoln Continental approach Two Pair. Connections between the characters—some more believable than others—are revealed as the story builds toward a violent climax. Though the prose tends toward the awkward ("Under kitchen lights reflecting off walls of dark wood and partially absorbed and mellowed almost to amber by that effect..."), Waller's fans will enjoy his take on the Old West meeting the New. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
After parlaying his mega-hit, The Bridges of Madison County (1992), into a sequence of gruffly romantic westerns, including High Plains Tango (2005), Waller leaves love in the dust in this concentrated tale of desert noir. It's the dead of night, but no one is sleeping. Pablo crosses the border, burdened with a heavy pack and a heavy heart, heading for a ranch outside Clear Signal, Texas. There he'll hand the goods over to Sonia, whose employer, Winchell Dear, is an on-in-years professional poker player who won the ranch in a game. Unaware of his housekeeper's narco activities, he nonetheless senses menace in the air, and, practiced at maintaining a "genteel savagery," he stays awake and vigilant, playing a complex game of solitaire with his Colt automatic at hand. Another old-timer, a seven-foot diamondback, is on the prowl, while Peter Long Grass, a Comanche living on the land with Winchell's tacit permission, also keeps watch. Except for the rattler, who thinks only of food, each character is assailed by memories, allowing Waller to tell the preposterous yet entertaining tale of Winchell's Depression-era boyhood apprenticeship to a card shark. Meanwhile, two overdressed, well-armed, and none too bright thugs from Los Angeles churn their way across the desert in a Lincoln Continental, providing both imminent danger and comic relief. Waller has dealt himself a hand of stereotypes, but he plays a sure and mesmerizing game, and reader takes all. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Borrowing lyrics from his song "Blue Suspenders" from his excellent and underrated album "Ballads of Madison County," Waller creates Winchell Dear, a professional gambler with a checkered past and a few regrets. Dear lives on a ranch he won in a poker match. On this property also lives his maid, an American Indian, and a rattlesnake that is mentioned several times to foreshadow it is going to play some part in the story. Staying with the maid in her adobe is an aging Mexican drug runner. On the way to the ranch, for reasons left unexplained until the very end, are two comical stereotypical mob hitmen who banter back and forth and use language the average "Madison County" romance reader will likely find inappropriate. Waller builds up all of these characters, makes us care about them, and brings them all together in the end. He also introduces a few others along the way and tosses in a pinch of romance (but not quite enough to satisfy.)
As always, it takes a chapter or two to get used to Waller's style of writing. He skips from one character's point of view to the next without using section breaks. Some of the narrative and a little of the dialogue is clunky. It is kind of hard for a man who lived in Iowa all his life to move to Texas for a couple of years and pick up on the rough Texan vernacular, but Waller gives it his best shot. Some of it is kind of forced, as if lifted from old west movies from the forties, but once you get into the story you overlook things like that. And he misuses the term "ya'll." Northerners take note: "Ya'll" is PLURAL. No Texan is going to tell one person, "Ya'll want to go to the store?" The term means "You all," much like, "You guys" or "You's twos."
Aside from those minor complaints, the story is fast paced... I can see it being made into a pretty good movie. Waller's prose, as always, captures the winds and mystery of the rugged Texas night. He holds a great respect for the reclusive ways of life and the dreams that surround them. He captures the essence of his characters and doesn't disappoint. I look forward, as always, to his next one. And hopefully next time it will be another love story, as that is the kind of book he writes best.