Sunday, May 15, 2011

The James Boys

A Novel Account of Four Desperate Brothers
Richard Liebamann-Smith

Suppose that the outlaws of song and story Frank and Jesse James, were the  younger brothers of psychologist and philosopher William James and novelist Henry James. They were roughly contemporaneous and had the same last name, after all. In the spirit of the zombie and werewolf genre of classic nineteenth century literature spoofs, Richard Liebmann-Smith has tinkered with history just enough to make Henry James a part of the disastrous Northfield Minnesota bank robbery attempt and bring Frank and Jesse to Boston, pretending to be visiting scholars from land grant colleges in the Midwest.

Not being to sure what William James was  about, going in, or whether he was actually the brother of Henry at all, (he was) it was no stretch of the imagination for me to believe that their two younger brothers, Wilkie and Rob, real or not (they were) had switched sides in the Civil War and become Confederate irregulars and then outlaws in Missouri (they didn't).

Liebmann-Smith has written a fast paced adventure story with plenty of sex and violence to satisfy jaded twenty first century readers. William Pinkerton, of the National Detective Agency plays the part of the bumbling comedic cop and Elena Hite, the made from whole cloth daughter of a  railroad baron,  serves as the love interest.

The James Boys has woven fact and fiction in a seamless manner. Henry's gastrointestinal disorders, William 's bouts with depression, Jesse's love of publicity, Frank's casual violence and Billy Pinkerton's inability to nab the notorious James Boys. Though Frank and Jesse were really not related to William and Henry they should have been.

This post is in the 69th
Book Review Blog Carnival
Published at Proud Book Nerd.


  1. Looks like great summer reading here on the banks of the Canon River! Thanks for the tip.


  2. You'll need twenty more titles like this one to get you through the summer. This is a quick read.


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