If it wasn't for the Friday Forgotten books I might never have heard of James Reasoner and I might never have read his first book Texas Wind. I think I am better off for having discovered James and his books. Texas Wind is the story of-- well hell, here's the synopsis from amazon
When Cody, a Texas private investigator, is hired to look into what should be a straightforward missing person case, he soon realizes that he's taken on more than he bargained for. The facts surrounding the disappearance of Fort Worth businessman's daughter, twenty-year-old Mandy Traft, are far from clear. Did she run off with her boyfriend? Or has she been kidnapped? With each step Cody takes, the case becomes increasingly dangerous. Before long, he's been warned off, and bodies are starting to tumble. He knows he should get out while he still can. But he can't. Not until he finds Mandy. TEXAS WIND is James Reasoner's debut novel that has achieved a legendary status since its publication in 1980. Considered by many to be one of the best private eye novels ever written.
PI novels are all over the place and for one to rise to the top of the form in this day and age (let alone back in 1980 when the book first published) it has to have something special. In this case I think it's the direct style and lack of too much extraneous plots and sub pots. We get a nice balance of the private life of Cody and his work. I liked the clumsiness of many of the characters and their actions, the professional thugs are good at what they do, but the amateurs are just that, making mistakes and blundering to often to their own dooms. I also liked that there was a real sense of place and time in the book. Good Stuff.
Pulp Serenade review of Texas Wind here