ERICA WRIGHT | Reviews Shamus Dust by Janet Roger

Updated: Nov 12

"Shamus Dust leans into the noir genre, embracing its hard-boiled private investigator and razor-sharp femmes fatale. The language cascades down the page, brisk and sharp. Roger has created a mystery that manages to be both an original and a throwback at once. You don’t want to sleep on this one."


Erica Wright is the poetry editor and a senior editor at Guernica Magazine as well as a former editorial board member for Alice James Books. She grew up in Wartrace, TN and now lives in Washington, DC.

Erica Wright's new crime novel Famous in Cedarville received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. She is the author of three previous novels including The Red Chameleon, which was one of O, The Oprah Magazine's Best Books of Summer 2014. Her poetry collections are Instructions for Killing the Jackal and All the Bayou Stories End with Drowned. She's currently working on a book about snakes for Object Lessons.

Did you know?

Erica's new crime novel is set in Cedarville. Which is quite a coincidence because until very recently I'd never heard of Cedarville.

Then in November last, Ray A March commented favorably on a piece called The Big Sleep at Eighty that I'd just had published in CrimeReads. We exchanged a few emails. Then a few more ... you know how these things go. And so I learned Ray's an American journalist published in Time Magazine, New York Times, Associated Press and San Francisco Chronicle among others. He already has five nonfiction books under his belt and another out very soon - Mass Murder in California's Empty Quarter: A Tale of Tribal Treachery at the Cedarville Rancheria, University of Nebraska Press. And when he's not busy doing all that, he co-chairs the Ed Kennedy Pulitzer Project, a nationwide effort by journalists to award the late Kennedy a special Pulitzer for his World War II reporting. He's quite a man!

But that's not my point. My point is that Ray lives and works in Cedarville. That's him below, on the road out of Cedarville heading east to Nevada, right in California's Empty Quarter with the Hays Mountain Range as a backdrop. And what a backdrop!

Photo credit | Barbara March 2019

Now it's a small community with a population somewhere between 500-600. So just what do you think the odds might be of finding, only a few months later, that Erica Wright had set her new novel Famous in Cedarville there? I admit, I was bowled over. And so I wrote to her and asked if she's also consider reviewing Shamus Dust for me. I was of course delighted when she said she would.

It wasn't until she posted her review a few days ago that she kindly disillusioned me. Erica's Cedarville is fictitious - based on her own hometown in Tennessee. Which just goes to show coincidence should always be taken with a pinch of salt. ... or two!!

Janet Roger is the author of SHAMUS DUST : HARD WINTER, COLD WAR, COOL MURDER - available for purchase on Amazon UK and Amazon US

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