The Long Night of Winchell Dear
Robert James Waller’s The Long Night of Winchell Dear, while packed with familiar characters — the grizzled poker player, the Mexican drug smuggler, the resident Comanche, the seven-foot diamondback rattlesnake — is pretty entertaining, with nary a whiff of the smarmy romance that’s plagued Waller’s books since The Bridges of Madison County. Dear, 67, ”catching the smell of evil,” makes sure his Colt is safely holstered and starts dealing solitaire to stay awake through the uneasy Texas night. As the characters slowly converge, tension builds to a climax that’s satisfying, if completely expected. There’s no gunk here, just a simple tale well told.