This blog could simply say, “Trent Zelazny’s Too Late to Call Texas is available for pre-order on Amazon.” And that would be enough, should be enough, to send you scampering to the link to place your order (incidentally, every time you see an underlined word or phrase in this post, it will take you directly to the Amazon page for the book—you can even click on any of the images herein and also be whisked away to the Land of Amazon. Why not zip over there now?). What? You need a reason? You don’t know who this Zelazny character is?
Ahem. If I may.
I’ve likened Too Late to Call Texas elsewhere as “Shakespeare- tragedy-meets-Tarantino brutality.” Not since Jack Bauer have so many characters been in so much danger. The body count is high, the feel-good quotient low. But this is what Zelazny seems to know and do best, which is to deny us relief, shun our pleas for leniency. If you’re looking for sunshine and roses look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you like tragedy (Shakespeare) and ugly, in-your-face grit (Tarentino), then look no further. Zelazny knows this territory, maybe too well. And he’s not afraid to grab the reader by the scruff of the neck and say, “Pay attention, this is what despair feels like; what it looks, and smells and tastes like.” I find all of this immensely refreshing. We are being told and shown the truth. The prose is so good, the voice so damned convincing, that we don’t care what the story’s about. We’ll follow these characters down any festering hole they stumble into because Zelazny makes it impossible not to believe.
We talk about this writer’s or that writer’s latest offering, and how that writer is “working at the top of his form.” Well, I’m not sure Zelazny has a lower position in his form. He seems to do what he does so effortlessly…well, it’s scary. And encouraging. If he doesn’t slow down, we have much to look forward to.
I don’t know the man, so I am going out on a limb in saying Zelazny is not slanting for any particular market, he is stilling some very aggressive personal demons. If I ever get to meet him, I’d like to talk with him long over coffee and beg him never to stop writing. At least until the demons have had their say.
I’ve raved about Trent Zelazny before, will continue to do so, and this latest work only proves my previous rants. This boy can write. You should be reading his work. Zelazny may well be the rightful heir to the dark landscape of fiction perfected by Cornell Woolrich—Yes, he is that good.