Saturday, April 6, 2013


The second short story in my DEAD REDNECKS! series is now available.

The series is about two brothers in Knoxville -the eldest is a tough ex-con trying to go straight, and the younger has pulled himself out of a nervous breakdown by opening a detective agency and dressing like Humphrey Bogart. Older brother Hoss Qualls tries to keep young Howard from getting himself killed -a task complicated by Hoss's criminal past continually returning to haunt him, and by the shenanigans of their assorted kinfolk. There is a lot of humor, but the stories are straight mysteries in the redneck noir genre.

In volume 2, DEAD REDNECKS IN THE HOLLER, Hoss Qualls returns to his hometown after learning that his cousin Bucky has been shot dead in the woods, along with an old enemy from Hoss's criminal past. He's determined to get to the bottom of it -if his family doesn't drive him crazy first.
Also, check out volume 1, DEAD REDNECKS ARE MY SPECIALTY

Here is the opening of DEAD REDNECKS IN THE HOLLER:

“This here is a seriously dead sumbitch,” Sheriff Georgie Madison said.
            I nodded. The man who was laid on the slab before me was both seriously dead and, as I knew from personal experience, also a sumbitch.
            “That’s Andy Herman, all right,” I said. “The bastard. I’d know his ugly face anywhere.”
            I had never gotten along real well with Andy Herman, or either of his brothers for that matter. It had got a lot worse about a decade or so back, when my friend Boomer and me had been cooking meth down in Fancher Holler and selling it in K-Town. The Hermans decided they wanted a regional monopoly on that trade, and a small war ensued—it ended with a shoot-out that took the lives of Boomer and the youngest Herman brother, Curtis, as well as a couple of others on each side. No one was ever arrested for that bloodbath, though not for want of trying; I had been present, and fired my share of shots, but made sure I was well away when the law showed up. So had my cousins Ivory Qualls and Bucky Vance. Of course, not long after that I got picked up for practicing my chemical distribution trade, and spent seven years in the state pen. I was living over in Knoxville now, working at a garage and doing my best to keep my nose clean.
            And Andy Herman was lying on a coroner’s slab in our little hometown of Ithaca, Tennessee, with a hole in his chest.
            “Shoot, Hoss,” Madison said. “Andy Herman ain’t the one I asked you out here to identify. He ain’t nothin’ to you.”
            “You got that right.”
            “It’s this’un right here,” the sheriff continued. He took a couple of steps to the next slab, and pulled the sheet back to reveal another corpse, this one with three bullet holes in the torso.
            “I have to ask you this, official,” Madison said. “Is this your cousin Bucky Vance?”
            I felt my heart sink, and released a sad sigh. “You know it is, Georgie.”
            “Well, yeah, I know it is. But the next of kin has to identify the deceased to make it stick.”
            I stepped closer to the body. I was a little surprised to see the streaks of gray at Bucky’s temples and in his whiskers; I’d seen him a few times since I got out of the pen, and the gray always shocked me. Just the sight of his face brought back the smell of our grandpa’s barn to my mind, and images of half-a-dozen pre-teen cousins stacked into a double-sized guest bed on long distant Saturday nights. And the smell of Sunday morning biscuits.