Ray Slater

Created by Joe R. Lansdale
(1951–)

The very first story popular storyteller Joe R. Lansdale ever sold was a private eye story, “The Full Count.”

It showed up in the June 1978 issue of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine. It introduced gumshoe big RAY SLATER. According to Lansdale, “the readers liked it,” and he managed to sell them two more featuring Slater.

A big, rough-and-tumble gumshoe, he barely squeezed out a living in Pasadena, Texas, near Houston, specializing in missing persons. He drove a “ragged red ’69 Chevy,” sometimes carried a .38, and  had an office on Strawberry Street, but could usually be found most weekday afternoons at The Idle Hour Lounge, nursing a beer and a cigarette, waiting for trouble. In true pulp tradition, it usually found him.

Okay, so it was pure pulp, top-loaded with similes, and the stories are “blatantly Raymond Chandler pastiches, with a bit of other Black Mask detectives thrown in,” Lansdale gleefully admitted years later, and then added that he hopes he went on to become a much better writer (he did). Still, he allows that the three stories were fun (they are).

And that was that, although Slater did ride once more (sort of). Lansdale used the name as a pseudonym for his 1982 western, Texas Night Riders. And there was a Ray Slater novel, The Long Fall, based on a couple of the stories, which Lansdale confessed “wasn’t bad, though (he was) glad it was never published.”

There was also a Ray Slater novel, The Long Fall, based on a couple of the stories, which Lansdale confessed “wasn’t bad, though (he was) glad it was never published.” (It did eventually get published years later, as part of a limited edition collection of Lansdale’s unpublished work).

The three Slater stories were eventually collected, along with three stories by Landsdale’s sci-fi writer buddy Lewis Shiner, about private eye Dan Sloane in Private Eye Action As You Like It… (1998). It also features two stories featuring Houston P.I. John Talbot, written by both Lansdale and Shiner.

SHORT STORIES

  • “The Full Count” (June 1978, Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine )
  • “Long Gone, Forever” (December 1978, Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine)
  • “One Blonde, Well Dead” (April 1979, Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine)

NOVELS

  • The Long Fall (2002, For a Few Stories MoreBuy this book
    Originally written circa 1980.

COLLECTIONS

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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