facebook twitter
David Corbett David Corbett David Corbett David Corbett David Corbett David Corbett

The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday

Nominated for the Lefty Award for Best Historical Mystery

The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday

The most notorious love letters in American history—supposedly destroyed a century ago—mysteriously reappear, and become the coveted prize in a fierce battle for possession that brings back to life the lawless world evoked in the letters themselves.

Lisa Balamaro is an ambitious arts lawyer with a secret crush on her most intriguing client: former rodeo rider and reformed art forger, Tuck Mercer. In his newfound role as expert in Old West artifacts, Tuck gains possession of the supposedly destroyed correspondence between Doc Holliday and his cousin and childhood sweetheart, Mattie—who would become Sister Mary Melanie of the Sisters of Mercy.

Given the unlikelihood the letters can ever be fully authenticated, Tuck retains Lisa on behalf of the letters' own, Rayella Vargas, to sell them on the black market. But the buyer Tuck finds, a duplicitous judge from the Tombstone area, has other, far more menacing ideas.

As Lisa works feverishly to make things right, Rayella secretly enlists her ex-marine boyfriend in a daring scheme of her own.

When the judge learns he's been blindsided, he rallies a cadre of armed men for a deadly standoff reminiscent of the moment in history that made Doc famous: The Gunfight at the OK Corral.

AmazonBarnes & Noble
The Story Behind the Story
David had been spreading the word on a number of blogs about the various challenges of The Long-Lost Letters of Doc Holliday, and how he came up with the idea for it. You can find a list of those blog postings here.



"[T]his is a magnificent yarn—gripping, brutal, and literary. I'd say it's as satisfying a page-turner as The Devil's Redhead, my favorite of Corbett's novels. It's hard to compare the two as Doc Holliday is a richer literary experience than any of Corbett's work I've read before.
What makes this novel special is a literary flourish that transcends the crime genre. Corbett has always shown a rare talent as a wordsmith. At its best, his prose is electrifying and boasts a hip swagger that accentuates the brashness of his characters.
Beyond its mesmerizing syntax, Doc Holliday is an homage to the heritage of the Old West—in letters, in painting, and in Corbett's description of the culture and landscape of the area. The very fact the book's subject, the letters themselves, came from an O.K. Corral vet shows that this novel at its heart is a celebration of the American frontier. Corbett rivals Wallace Stegner in infusing fiction with the culture of the American West.
Above all else, The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday is a thrilling read. The characters are bold and finely drawn and their actions drive a compelling narrative to its violent crescendo. There were some fine thrillers published in 2018, but none measures up to David Corbett's latest."
   —Peter Moreira, author of The Haight

"David Corbett’s latest, The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday, is just terrific. The correspondence between Doc and his cousin sings with truth and passion, and the greater story of the letters’ provenance provides thrills enough for several novels. Highly recommended."
   —John Lescroart, New York Times best-selling author of Poison and Fatal

"David Corbett swaggers in to the new American western with the fresh and inventive The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday. The novel melds action thriller, courtroom drama, and Elmore Leonard-style crime novel to explore the territory where legend, lore, and fact collide. Corbett frames all of it by weaving in the correspondences between Doc Holliday and his cousin Mattie, creating an elegant counterpoint between old west and new."

"Corbett’s character-driven legal thriller is full of suspense and hard-charging gun-slinging action from the Old West to a modern-day shoot-out. The courtroom scenes are a master class in legal procedural fiction with quick-fired exchanges between all parties as the arts lawyer, Lisa Balamaro, seeks to have the stolen letters protected by the courts. Outside the courtroom, other characters find ways beyond the law to settle their disputes with deadly consequences, and an action-packed finale full of strategic combat complexity makes the shootouts of the Old West seem like a simpler time. But the results of violent revenge are timeless, and Corbett has served it up cold with calculated precision."
   —US Review of Books

"What a joy. What an amazing read. The writing is simply beautiful. The characters, all flawed, are all believable. The plot is fast-paced, but this is not your typical run and gun thriller. This is one of those novels you must read to the very last page to get the true meaning of the book. I am not often moved by a thriller. This is one I will remember for a long, long time."
   —Rick Pullen, best-selling author of Naked Ambition

"This is a book I could not put down. The historical details are authentic, the background word pictures of the Arizona foothills and desert are true and the modern story leaves you at times breathless... And the letters are a very clear profile of the life of Doc Holliday through his eyes, and those of the only woman he will ever love. The woman who will always love him. This is not the same Doc Holliday of films and dime novels. You may find that you understand him a lot better than you did before."
   —Bonnye Reed Frye, NetGalley

"The novel alternates between the contemporary story and gorgeously-written letters as they trace the separation of the star-crossed lovers. For those who enjoy the beautiful use of language, there is much to be enjoyed. The author also masterfully renders an out-of-control courtroom drama weaving in the attorney’s thought processes as she runs through procedures and arguments in a way that is understandable to the lay person, credible to an experienced attorney, and creates an exciting tension-filled scene. After court, the drama continues to escalate all the way to the end. It’s one of those stories that I know will stay with me."
   —Keenan Powell, Mysteristas

"[A]n astounding multifaceted thriller brimming with intrigue and suspense [and ending with] a contemporary shoot-'em-up [unlike any] portrayed since the final scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

"Corbett has woven incredible characters with depth into a historical fiction/legal thriller page turner. The love letters themselves are gorgeously written, entirely believable too—I caught myself several times thinking Corbett had dredged them out of some attic himself. As far as art forgery, he’s pulled off being the forger of the letters quite well. The modern action juxtapositioned against historical action was thrilling and educational. I felt like I was in a shoot-out, or at least had front row seats. A must-read."
   —Shannon Kirk, International Best-selling author of Method 15/33

"An imaginative take on Old West mythology...Corbett alternates present-day chapters—which build toward a dramatic OK Corral style showdown—with excerpts from the fabled letters between Doc Holliday and his first cousin Mattie. Amazing book! I could not put this book down from the first page to the last. Strongly Recommended.”
   —Tara Jill, Independent reviewer

"I loved this book."
   —Marie Angel, Independent Reviewer

"This is a great novel... The plot is stimulating, and there is a lot of action and suspense."
   —Randee Green