When asked to write my second Cash Laramie novel, I decided to try something different by paying homage to Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849).
I’d recently read an interesting biography of the author by Julian Symons, entitled The Tell-Tale Heart (my blog Review – The Tell-Tale Heart, February 6, 2016) so embarked on a fascinating plotting and writing journey involving many Poe references (related in my blog Dark Echoes, October 9, 2017).
Besides the references already itemized in the blogs mentioned, there were other links:
The bank manager, who appears to be schizophrenic, is called William Wilson. Poe’s 1839 short story ‘William Wilson’ concerns a doppelganger, a ‘double’;
Mr Usher Corman is a gun-for-hire. Of course his first name is taken from Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher. And Corman is a nod to the legendary film director Roger Corman who produced and directed several Poe inspired movies, among them House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tomb of Ligeia and The Premature Burial.
Indeed, almost every chapter heading relates to a person in Poe’s life or a character or place in his writing: viz. Premature burial, Berenice, Raven, Wilmot, The Bells, Amontillado, the oval portrait, pendulum and pit, and tell-tale heart.
The back cover superbly echoes the theme with a raven on the branch of a dead tree.
Cash Laramie has been in plenty of tight spots, but this – being buried alive – may be his last!
It all started innocently enough, as a favor for his boss, accompanying a rich woman in her search for her brother. The trail leads to The Bells, a strange hotel run by a brother and sister team, which just happens to be adjacent to the funeral parlor and cemetery...
His friend Miles is nearby, intent on escorting a suspected murderer to Cheyenne for trial. Yet Miles discovers that his charge might be not guilty, after all, and lingers to ask questions. And those inquiries mean upsetting some people, which leads to an ambush, and a final reckoning at the outlandish casino complex constructed by a wealthy bigoted German baron.
Throw into the mix the attractive Berenice, a schizophrenic bank manager, irate miners, Chinese workers, a boisterous slot machine salesman, and a devious lawyer and you have another explosive adventure for the Outlaw Marshal.