George Wier writes books that serve as throwbacks to early action novels for today’s audience. His Bill Travis series (now in print versions, available at MysteryPeople) earned a large online following. Even when he’s writing with another author, Wier’s voice still carries through; striving to entertain the reader as much as he can.
His Bill Travis is something of a Texas Travis McGee. A jack-of-all-trades, master of some, he tells us in the first book, The Last Call, that he’s in the business of helping people. This work usually gets him in trouble with both sides of the law and in the middle of a lot of gunfire, dealing out as much Lonestar wit as he does lead.
It’s Wier’s unapologetic sense of fun that makes these books stand out. Two of the influences he cites for the series are Lester Dent’s (aka Kenneth Robeson) Doc Savage series and the Seventies PI show, Mannix. Travis’ personality and forward momentum are a priority in the writing. In The Last Call, he throws everything at the reader but the kitchen sink, including dingos that eat more than babies. His second (and my personal favorite), Capitol Offense, starts with Bill being told by a death row inmate that he blew up Vietnamese fishing boats in Galveston Bay for the man who is now governor and then getting involved in an assassination plot. It’s story telling with bravado.
What makes the books unique is the Texas take on pulp adventure. You hear Bill’s twang as he narrates. And while he operates in Austin, his adventures lead him through many of the state’s small towns. The third book, Long Necks And Twisted Hearts, has him back in his East Texas home town. The state’s past plays an important part role in many of the stories. It could be said that George Wier uses Texas history to shade his tales the same way James Rollins uses science.
This summer will see a collaboration George did with Milton T Burton, Long Fall From Heaven. Finished after Mr. Burton’s death, the two use their love of Texas history to join their writing in a story about an ex-lawman turned security firm owner and his ne’er do well friend and employee. They have to solve a series of killings in nineteen eighties Galveston by delving into a sordid family past during World War Two. The book has a bit more sober tone than the Bill Travis books, yet carries Wier’s strong pace and flow. The blend of the two authors’ voices is pitch perfect.
George Wier is the writer as craftsman. He knows the right approach and style to put on a tale for maximum fun. I’m looking forward to seeing what he takes a hammer and saw to next.
You can get to know George June 2nd at 4:30PM, as he signs and discusses Long Fall From Heaven here at BookPeople.