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Van Holt wrote his first western when he was in high school and sent it to a literary agent, who soon returned it, saying it was too long but he would try to sell it if Holt would cut out 16,000 words.
Young Holt couldn't bear to cut out any of his perfect western, so he threw it away and started writing another one.
A draft notice interrupted his plans to become the next Zane Grey or Louis L'Amour. A tour of duty as an MP stationed in South Korea was pretty much the usual MP stuff except for the time he nabbed a North Korean spy and had to talk the dimwitted desk sergeant out of letting the guy go.
A briefcase stuffed with drawings of U.S. aircraft and the like only caused the overstuffed lifer behind the counter to rub his fat face, blink his bewildered eyes, and start eating a big candy bar to console himself. Imagine Van Holt's surprise a few days later when he heard that same dumb sergeant telling a group of new admirers how he himself had caught the famous spy one day when he was on his way to the mess hall.
Holt says there hasn't been too much excitement since he got out of the army, unless you count the time he was attacked by two mean young punks and shot one of them in the big toe. Holt believes what we need is punk control, not gun control.
After traveling all over the West and Southwest in an aging Pontiac, Van Holt got tired of traveling the day he rolled into Tucson and he has been there ever since, still dreaming of becoming the next Zane Grey or Louis L'Amour when he grows up. Or maybe the next great mystery writer. He likes to write mysteries when he's not too busy writing westerns or eating Twinkies.
WARNING: Reading a Van Holt western may make you want to get on a horse and hunt some bad guys down in the Old West. Of course, the easiest and most enjoyable way to do it is vicariously--by reading another Van Holt western. Van Holt writes westerns the way they were meant to be written.
“Step aside Louis L'Amour, another great Western writer is here…” --Heather
“I had a feeling that Van Holt…might actually be the successor to Zane Gray, a master Western storysmith, whose novels set the style of a generation.” --Stern0
“Van Holt wants to be LOUIS L'AMOUR when he grows up, well he is. The stories are as action packed and hold a lot of the flavor of the Old West as L'AMOUR's did.” -- Annlouise Fallon
“Van's style of writing is unique, easy to follow, and fun for his readers to enjoy - just like a western should be!” --Michael
“In a way, Van Holt may just be the right person to step into the gigantic shoes of Louis L’Amour.” –the GreatReads!
---- It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Van Holt, 'King of the Hellbound Westerns.'
He has taken the long trail.
He passed alone in his Tucson apartment on August 19, 2014, at the age of 72. He had been battling several illnesses that eventually deprived him of his mobility and some of his sharp, witty mind.
Mr. Holt was a very private man and guarded his solitude very zealously. I worked closely with him for over five years, bringing to light most of the manuscripts he had written back in the 1980s and some from the 1990s. Though he was somewhat old fashioned and very shy of technology, (he did not have a computer and gave up using a typewriter only because he couldn't get his repaired) he was excited to learn about getting his works into ebook formats and available on the internet. In the last months of his life, he rarely left his apartment. Compelled to finish his last novel? Maybe he felt the end was near.
He handed over the manuscript (all of them were handwritten on college lined paper) for The Men from Missouri only days before his passing. He often spoke of his desire that his characters, the only children he ever had, would live on in the pages and in the minds of his fans and readers.
I, for one, am a better man having known Van Holt.
Happy Trails, Van. You will be missed. See y'all on the other side.
- The Publisher