FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE BURNING SEASON!
THE FIRST JOE HANNIBAL NOVEL
Back in the early ‘80s I got to know Wayne D. Dundee when he was publishing a pre-Internet mystery short story zine called Hardboiled. One of my stories, Quint And The Braceros, was published by Dundee in Hardboiled and went on to be nominated for a Best Private Eye Short Story Shamus.
Dundee published Hardboiled because of his love for the private eye genre, using the magazine to give voice to a number of up and coming writers, including C. J. Henderson, and not least of all, himself. Hardboiled was the launching pad for Dundee’s seminal private eye Joe Hannibal – a two-fisted brother to Mike Hammer.
Set against the unusual background of Rockford, Illinois, Hannibal’s investigations showcased his blue collar roots, his tough love conservative Regan era philosophy, and his take no prisoners approach to life. Along with Bomber Brannigan, his bartender/ex-wrestler sidekick, Hannibal kicks ass and takes names, and would be right at home in the pulp pages of Manhunt or Black Mask. My kind of guy, especially to read about.
Dundee astutely managed to move Hannibal through a series of excellent short stories and into a series of novels from a mainstream publisher – each one showing growth for Hannibal as a character and Dundee as a writer. An excellent, if sometimes overlooked series.
THE BURNING SEASON
On a bounty hunt in rural southern Illinois, PI Joe Hannibal apprehends his man Junior Odum but then discovers his troubles in Hatchaloo County are only beginning. Joe is convinced by gun-toting kin of Odum's that there are worse things going on locally than the harboring of a bail skip, and it doesn't take much digging by him to decide they're right. Greed, treachery, arson … and murder, are all there to be uncovered.
At the breakneck pace of a moonshine runner barreling down a country back road, Hannibal races to prevent the killer from getting away with what he has done. But only after blazing death strikes again will Joe be able to close the case.
Several of the later Joe Hannibal novels may still be in print and available from Amazon or elsewhere, but Abe books or other Internet used book dealers would be able to provide inexpensive copies of the early books.
THE JOE HANNIBAL NOVELS
THE BURNING SEASON (1988)
THE SKINTIGHT SHROUD (1989)
THE BRUTAL BALLET (1992)
AND FLESH AND BLOOD SO CHEAP (2001)
THE FIGHT IN THE DOG (2005)
THE DAY AFTER YESTERDAY (2007)