Colorful, nostalgic and unpretentious, ranging in theme and mood from tough to tender, and told with the artful artlessness of the born raconteur, these 10 linked tales, supposedly from the lips of one Shanks Caulder, evoke the full flavor of life in the imaginary Arkansas town of Weedy Rough back in the '30s. The accent is on character. There's feisty old Hanby Crumb, who boasts of having been the favorite of Pancho Villa; lawman Leo Sparks, who conducts an endless feud with the town's most detested family; the bumbling Slaven Budd whose one talent is that he can ``talk dog''; the wild and tragic Audie Renkin who wins from five men at a poker game more money than they are prepared to lose. Other stories feature life on a prison farm, the strange sport of fox racing, a fastball that goes out of control, a trombonist who drinks too much and, in a manner both quaint and slightly sinister, some kids who dress up in the garb of the Ku Klux Klan. Jones (Roman, Elkhorn Tavern, etc.) has supplied his own expressive drawings to go with this most engaging collection. (July 2)
Shanks Caulder lives in Weedy Rough, Arkansashas since the early Thirtiesand loves to tell stories. He's seen a lot of things in Weedy Rough, and he's pretty good at interesting us in the independent, parochial, passionate, and undeniably colorful citizens of the Rough. Also, despite his small-town upbringing, Shanks went off to the war and got to see quite a bit. In ten wordy but absorbing stories Shanks draws out the essence of this otherwise forgotten corner of Arkansas, in the process telling us as much about himself as anything. By the author of Elkhorn Tavern and Roman . Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army TRALINET Ctr., Fort Monroe, Va.