With perhaps the exception of Melville’s “Call me Ishmael,” I have found no writer who ever jump started a novel better than Louis L’Amour. I recently read my way through my stack of novels and found myself out of something to read. So I scrounged my bookshelves and found “Passin’ Through,” one of the Louis L’Amour books I can’t part with…my reserve reading in case I run out of books again. In the first line, there it was, the quickest start a novel ever had: Behind me a noose hung empty and before me the land was wild. I try to match that. I haven’t yet, but I might have gotten close with Bitter’s Run.
I think of Louis L’Amour as an old friend. I have read all of his novels and most of his short stories. I never had the privilege of meeting him in person, but I bristle when literary types dismiss his contribution to American literature. I mean, how many writers have so many books in print the titles are listed alphabetically?
Not me. (I haven’t checked, but the Patterson book factory might have as many. Someone should look that up.)