James Carlos Blake books in order
James Carlos Blake is an American award-winning author of mystery and western fiction novels.
Termed as “one of the greatest chroniclers of the mythical American outlaw life”, Blake has written several novels, novellas, short stories, and essays.
Born in Tampico, Mexico but brought up in Texas, Blake attended the University of South Florida, Tampa Bay and the Bowling Green State University, where he graduated with his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees respectively.
Prior to becoming a full-time novelist, Blake served in the U.S. Army Airborne, and also worked as a college instructor–where he taught in Bowling Green State University, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia, Miami Dade College, University of South Florida and Florida Southwest State College.
Some of his literary honors include the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Southwest Book Award, Quarterly West Novella Prize, and Chautauqua South Book Award.
A member of the Texas Institute of Letters, Blake currently lives in Arizona.
Genres: Mystery, Western
- The Pistoleer (1995)
- The Friends of Pancho Villa (1996)
- In the Rogue Blood (1997)
- Red Grass River (1998)
- Wildwood Boys (2000)
- A World of Thieves (2002)
- Under the Skin (2003)
- Handsome Harry (2004)
- The Killings of Stanley Ketchel (2005)
- Miami Noir: The Classics (2020)
- Borderlands: Short Fictions (1999)
- Country of the Bad Wolfes (2012)
- The Rules of Wolfe (2013)
- The House of Wolfe (2015)
- The Ways of Wolfe (2017)
- The Bones of Wolfe (2020)
Detailed book overview
Some called him a Texas hero. Some called him the Devil himself. But on one point they all agreed. While he was alive, John Wesley Hardin was the deadliest man in Texas.
A killer at fifteen, in the next few years he became skilled enough with his pistols to back down Wild Bill Hickok in the street. The law finally caught up with him when he was twenty-five. By then, he had killed as many as forty men and been shot so many times that, it was said, he carried a pound of lead in his flesh.
In jail he became a scholar, studying law books until he won himself freedom, and afterwards he tried to lead an upright life. It was not to be. By the time he was killed in 1895, Hardin was an anachronism—the last true gunfighter of the Old West.
With his debut novel on legendary Texas outlaw John Wesley Hardin, The Pistoleer, James Carlos Blake demonstrated a rare talent for western and historical fiction. His second book, The Friends of Pancho Villa, now back in print, further proved his mastery in the genre, taking on an even mightier figure of North American legend—the most memorable leader of the Mexican Revolution.
Violently waged from 1910 to 1920, the revolution profoundly transformed Mexican government and culture. And Pancho Villa was its “incarnation and its eagle of a soul”—so says Rodolfo Fierro, the novel’s narrator, an ex-con, train robber, and Villa’s loyal friend.
Killers of men and lovers of life, the revolutionaries fought for freedom, for a new Mexico, for Villa. And in return, they shared victory and death with their country’s most powerful hero. The Friends of Pancho Villa is a masterpiece of ferocious loyalty, bloody revolution, and legends that live forever.
James Carlos Blake's remarkable award-winning novel offers a savage, uncompromising and unforgettable vision of the old American West that explodes the idealized myths fostered by a hundred years of pulp fiction.
In 1845 two brothers, Edward and John Little, are forced to abandon their home in the Florida swamplands after being goaded by a treacherous parent into committing a horrific, shameful act that will haunt their dreams for the rest of their days.
So begins the Littles' strange odyssey across an almost surreal bloodland; twin journeys marked by death and degradation that will ultimately lead them both to a violently disputed Texas and place them on opposing sides in a fierce territorial struggle between Mexico and the United States. Here a family bond tempered in hot blood will be tested in the all-consuming fires of war and conscience.
James Carlos Blake is a masterful chronicler of the restless, outcast, the lawless, and the lonely heart. His previous novel, In the Rogue Blood, was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction.
Now he has written a powerful and rousing historical saga of family loyalties, blood feuds, and betrayed friendships; of bank robberies and bootlegging; and of a passionate love as wild at heart as the Everglades.
It is the story of sworn enemies: John Ashley, a criminal and folk hero, the brightest star in a family destined to become the most notorious in south Florida; and Bobby Baker, a lawman born of lawmen, a violent, hard-hearted man driven by the searing memory of past affronts and the enduring hatreds the engendered.
Ashley and Maker will clash many times over many decades. And as the twentieth century encroaches on their world—and the wildlands give grudging way to the rising boomtown of Miami—a feral, sensual mating will place one man in gravest peril...while his adversary contrives a dark, personal vengeance that could leave countless lives—his own included—in ruin.
From the raw clay of historical fact, James Carlos Blake has sculpted a powerful novel of both a man and an America at war with themselves.
Here is the brutally honest story of free-spirit William Anderson, who is pulled into a savage conflict of state against state in the years leading up to the Civil War.
When Bill suffers a catastrophic loss, a fury is unleashed in his anguished soul. He becomes the most fearsome guerrilla captain and earns a name that becomes whispered with reverence and terror: "Bloody Bill."
In 1928 New Orleans, eighteen-year-old Sonny LaSalle is a top prep student and champion amateur boxer -- and he venerates his fraternal twin uncles, Buck and Russell, armed robbers who love their profession.
Sonny secretly believes that he, too, is a natural outlaw and persuades his uncles to take him on as a partner. But when a bank job goes bad, Sonny is sent to jail, where he unintentionally kills a policeman who is the son of the most feared lawman in Louisiana, widely known as "John Bones."
After nine months in the infamous Angola penitentiary, Sonny makes a harrowing escape and manages to reunite with Buck and Russell. The carefree trio head out for the boomtowns of west Texas, where the money flows as freely as the oil, unaware that vengeance follows close behind, as the cool, calculating John Bones begins a relentless campaign to hunt down Sonny...no matter what.
James Rudolph Youngblood, aka Jimmy the Kid, is an enforcer, a "ghost rider" for the Maceo brothers, Rosario and Sam, rulers of "the Free State of Galveston," who are prospering through illicit pleasures in the midst of the Great Depression. Raised on an isolated West Texas ranch that he was forced to flee at age eighteen following the violent breakup of his foster family, Jimmy has found a home and a profession in Galveston -- and a mentor in Rose Maceo.
Looming over Jimmy's story like an ancient curse is the specter of his fearsome father. Their ties of blood, evident since Jimmy's boyhood, have been drawn tighter over time. Then a strange and beautiful girl enters his life and a swift and terrifying sequence of events is set in motion. Jimmy must cross the border and go deep into the brutal and merciless country of his ancestors -- where the story's harrowing climax closes a circle of destiny many years in the making.
Harry Pierpont and John Dillinger were die-hard and deadly partners who made national headlines with their daring bank hold-ups and gun battles -- and they had a lot of laughs while they were at it. They were known as the Dillinger Gang but at its heart was "Handsome Harry" Pierpont -- tough, fearless, intelligent, and sworn to live by no law but his own.
Presented as his intimate "confessions," Harry's story takes us from his teenage days as a small-time crook to his fateful meeting with the equally young Dillinger to the pinnacle of his notoriety, and to his final hours in the penitentiary death house.
In 1903 seventeen-year-old Ketchel makes a violent break from his father and flees his family's Michigan farm to ride the rails as a hobo, brawling with tramps and brakemen and cops. He finds a home among the hard-living mine workers and seductive ladies in one of the last wild towns of the old west -- Butte, Montana -- where he falls in love with a free-spirited woman who will haunt his heart forever.
But Ketchel also discovers his true calling in Butte: cracking skulls as a saloon bouncer leads him to prizefighting, a bloodsport barely hindered by rules in that day. Despite his lack of formal training as a boxer, his ferocious and unbridled style quickly earns him a reputation as the "Michigan Assassin." He soon outclasses every middleweight in the West and, shortly thereafter, the world -- winning the middleweight title in 1908.
Only the reigning heavyweight champion, fearsome Jack Johnson, rivals Ketchel's claim to be the greatest boxer of the era. The first black to hold the world title and one of the most controversial figures of the time, Johnson becomes Ketchel's obsession.
Driven to prove himself the best, Ketchel challenges Johnson to a title fight -- even though the "Galveston Giant" has an advantage on him of forty pounds and several inches. Their match is one of boxing's most memorable dramas and leads to a unique bond between the two men. But its outcome also sets Ketchel on a willful and tragic course.
This is an anthology og classic noir fiction by: Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Elmore Leonard, Lester Dent, Zora Neale Hurston, Brett Halliday, Damon Runyon, Edna Buchanan, James Carlos Blake, Douglas Fairbairn, Charles Willeford, T.J. MacGregor, Lynne Barrett, Les Standiford, Preston L. Allen, John Dufresne, Vicki Hendricks, Christine Kling, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, and David Beaty.
The scrublands of South Texas, the warm coastland of the Gulf of Mexico, a cinderblock flophouse near the produce fields of South Florida: all are borderlands of mixed blood and spilled blood, of generations forged in fight, failure, and hope.
In this extraordinary collection of short works, the masterful James Carlos Blake, author of In the Rogue Blood and the Wolfe family series of border noirs, journeys from the nineteenth-century Mexican frontier to the borderlands of today.
Borderlands begins with an introductory piece of memoir, called “The Outsiders,” about Blake’s own straddling of worlds and identities. In the following eight haunting stories, we meet Don Sebastián Cabrillo Mayor Cortés y Mendoza, a powerful landowner reduced to howling at the moon from behind the bars of a mental institution; an illegal immigrant in Florida who must reckon with his emotional turmoil after being robbed by a fellow Mexican; a Texas woman orphaned by disease and desertion, making her way into a violent world of men; and many more who pass through the shadows of the borderlands.
Bold, honest, and humane, these pieces represent some of the best writing from one of the most original and authentic voices in contemporary fiction.
A page-turning epic about the making of a borderland crime family, Country of the Bad Wolfes will appeal both to aficionados of family sagas and to fans of hard-knuckled crime novels by the likes of Donald Pollack, Elmore Leonard, James Lee Burke and James Ellroy.
Basing the novel partly on his own ancestors, Blake presents the story of the Wolfe family — spanning three generations, centering on two sets of identical twins and the women they love, and ranging from New England to the heart of Mexico before arriving at its powerful climax at the Rio Grande.
Begat by an Irish-English pirate in New Hampshire in 1828, the Wolfe family follows its manifest destiny into war-torn Mexico. There, through the connection of a mysterious American named Edward Little, their fortunes intertwine with those of Porfirio Díaz, who will rule the country for more than thirty years before his overthrow by the Revolution of 1910.
In the course of those tumultuous chapters in American and Mexican history, as Díaz grows in power, the Wolfes grow rich and forge a violent history of their own, spawning a fearsome legacy that will pursue them to a climactic reckoning at the Río Grande.
Eddie Gato Wolfe is a young, impetuous member of the Wolfe family of Texas gun-runners that goes back generations. Increasingly unfulfilled by his minor role in family operations and eager to set out on his own, Eddie crosses the border to work security for a major Mexican drug cartel led by the ruthless La Navaja.
Eddie falls for a mysterious woman named Miranda, whom he learns too late is the property of an intimate member of La Navaja’s organization. When their romance is discovered, Eddie and Miranda are forced to run for their lives, fleeing into the deadly Sonora Desert in hope of crossing the border to safety. But La Navaja’s reach is far and his lust for revenge insatiable.
If La Navaja’s men don’t kill Eddie and Miranda, the brutal desert just may. Their only hope: help from the family that Eddie abandoned.
On a rainy winter night in Mexico City, a ten-member wedding party is kidnapped in front of the groom's family mansion. The perpetrator is an ambitious young gangster named El Galán, who hopes that his audacious exploit will gain his small gang a partnership with a major crime cartel.
He sets the wedding party's ransom at five million USD, to be paid in cash within twenty-four hours. But El Galán doesn't know that bridesmaid Jessica Juliet Wolfe comes from a family of Texas gunrunners whose blood relatives belong to a powerful but mysterious Mexican cartel. As the captives realize the full horror of their situation, the Wolfes on both sides of the border come together and begin a desperate hunt to find Jessie before the deadline expires.
Gritty and exhilarating, The House of Wolfe takes readers on a furious ride from Mexico City's opulent neighborhoods to its frenetic downtown streets and feral shantytowns to a spectacularly hellish climax.
Twenty years ago, college student Axel Prince Wolfe―heir apparent to his Texas family's esteemed law firm and its "shade trade" criminal enterprises―teamed up with his best friend, Billy, and a Mexican stranger in a high-end robbery that went wrong.
Abandoned by his partners, he was captured and imprisoned, his family disgraced, his wife absconded, his infant daughter Jessie left an orphan. Two decades later, with eleven years still to serve, Axel has long since exhausted his desire for revenge against the partners who deserted him. All he wants now is to see the woman his daughter has become, despite her lifelong refusal to acknowledge him.
When the chance comes to escape in the company of Cacho, a young Mexican inmate with ties to a major cartel, Axel takes it, and a massive manhunt ensues, taking the pair down the Rio Grande and into a desert inferno. With his chance to see Jessie now within reach, a startling discovery re-ignites an old passion and sends Axel headlong toward reckonings many years in the making.
In the newest Wolfe-family adventure from James Carlos Blake, Rudy and Frank Wolfe are engaging in routine miscellaneous business―some legitimate and some less so―for their family when they stumble upon a stash of high-quality pornographic films in a raid.
The plot thickens when their Aunt Catalina, the family matriarch aged 115, recognizes a resemblance to her long-lost sister in one of the young performers. Catalina tasks the boys with tracking the girl down, however improbable a connection may be.
This proves to be no simple task. Soon, Rudy and Frank find themselves moving away from world of porn and towards the upper echelons of the Sinaloa drug cartel, where the mysterious woman has become a particular favorite of the head narco. For their aunt, the woman, and themselves, Frank and Rudy must find a way to extract her from the cartel. A tropical storm threatens their plan but their widespread and steadfast family stands ready to assist them every deadly mile of the way.
Ever daring and innovative, and assisted by the family's ready resources, the Wolfe brothers must run the highest risks in order to achieve the mission assigned them by the Grande Dame.