Author: William L. Frank

professor emeritus of English at Longwood University in Farmville and the author of The Fictional World of William Hoffman

William Hoffman (1925–2009)

William Hoffman was the author of fourteen novels, four short-story collections, and two plays. His terrifying experience as a combat medic in Europe during World War II (1939–1945) dominated his earliest writing, including The Trumpet Unblown (1955) and Yancey’s War (1966), which, according to poet George Garrett, are “at the highest rank of the American fiction coming out of World War II.” Hoffman is also celebrated for novels that combine character-driven portraits of the South with action-mystery plots, and writing that joins tragic intensity with humor. Tales of murders and mysterious runaways—Tidewater Blood (1999) and Wild Thorn (2002), for instance—are fueled by Hoffman’s sense of the macabre, while the backwoods of Virginia and his home state of West Virginia provide local color. Booklist has praised the writer’s “evocative sense of place,” but the Washington Post, in reviewing Lies (2005), wondered if Hoffman’s prose hadn’t become “swamped” in southern stereotypes.