Created by Terry Marlowe
Joint pseudonym of Richard Abshire and William Clair
CHARLIE GANTS is a troubled ex-homicide detective from Dallas working as a private eye, who appeared in two well-received books with definite supernatural overtones, written by real-life Dallas cops Richard Abshire and William Clair.
The first book, the eponymous Gants (1985), attributed to Richard Abshire and William Clair, had Charlie working with a ghost trying to help solve his own murder. The first edition was also something of a failed marketing experiment: a hardcover the size of a mass market paperback, produced in a very limited quantity by SOS Publications and only distributed in Texas. An actual mass market paperback was published a few years later, which is relatively easy to find. But copies of that tiny hardcover can fetch over fifty dollars from collectors.
It was followed in 1989 by The Shaman Tree, this time credited to Terry Marlowe, Abshire and Clair’s joint pen name. Fans of Tony Hillerman who wish he’d cut loose a little and amp it up occasionally ought to get a particular kick out of it. This time Gants, just out of a three-month stay in a mental hospital, is hired by a lawyer to investigate whether his client Amber McKendrick who drowned mysteriously at the family ranch might be the most recent victim of an ancient Indian curse.
After their years on the Dallas force, Abshire did training videos for the police department and worked for a time as a private eye, while Clair subsequently worked for the US Marshall’s office now. On his own, Abshire subsequently wrote about Jack Kyle, another ex-cop turned Dallas gumshoe.
- “(A) lusty, haunting, violent mystery (that) arrives at a final shocker.”
— Publishers Weekly