BOOKS: Beguiling Outlaw Lies

Larry McMurtry co-writes a novel about Pretty Boy Floyd

Larry McMurtry's splendid horse opera Lonesome Dove was a marvel of nostalgic bosh, and that same rare gift for making heroic tales from small-town street sweepings is on view in his new novel. Pretty Boy Floyd (Simon & Schuster; 444 pages; $24), written with McMurtry's screenwriting partner, Diana Ossana, is a lesser story, loosely tethered to the life and death of the renowned badman Charles Arthur Floyd (1904-34). But like Lonesome Dove, it beguiles the reader with a golden haze of lovely lies.

The setting is the deep Midwest -- rural Oklahoma and Kansas, mostly -- in the period before and...

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