[Narrator Samuel Craddock is going to the High School football game in his town]
Taylor is as excited as a teenager when she stops by my house to pick me up Friday night. She bounces out of the car wearing a blue jean skirt and a green and gold T-shirt, Jarrett Creek school colors. She has scared up her old cheerleader pom-poms, and waves them around with a jaunty dance…
As soon as we get settled in the stands, people Taylor went to high school with swarm around us. Everyone is chattering, catching up on old times. I don’t see Woody and Laurel and I wonder why, since they usually come to the games. I wonder who is going to bring Jack Harbin. Bob always had him here early and they sat right behind the team bench. Bob would keep up a running commentary, and when he ran out of steam, there was always somebody there to pick up where he left off.
It’s Walter Dunn who wheels Jack down in front… you’d get cited for a fire hazard in some stadiums if the wheelchair blocked the aisle, but Panther stadium is made out of local stone. It was built as a WPA project, and is unburnable.
I leave Taylor to her gaggle of friends and go down to spend some time with Jack and his posse. There’s no drinking in the stadium, but they’re passing around a flask, and I doubt anybody would object.
observations: I love this series of crime books, I find them mesmerizing and far above the usual run-of-the-mill small town mystery. Samuel Craddock is a retired police chief in Jarrett Creek in Texas, and he knows everybody. An unlikely amount of crime is going to occur in this town, but readers are not complaining.
In this one, there’s obviously something bad going on. Jack, above, is a veteran who was badly injured in the Gulf War, and was looked after by his father Bob. First the father dies, and then things get worse…
There is an admirable amount of plotting in these books – Terry Shames is obviously up for a Craddock series, and I think many authors would have made at least two books from the contents of this one: there is a religious cult, problems for vets trying to cope with their injuries, a lot about high school football, and a gambling strand too. It ends with a very tense stand-off.
Shames has a lovely way with words – in an earlier meeting with Taylor, Craddock says
We’re both smiling, enjoying the memories dancing around in the kitchen.And there’s a rare and kind thought about Dottie, a nurse, who sees that her patient has soft porn magazines and tries to stay neutral and not disapprove:
Dottie is a devout churchgoer and she’s taken to heart the adage not to cast stones.I’ve said before that it’s hard to remember that Terry Shames is a woman – I find her so convincing with this male voice. I love these books and hope there will be many more.
The denim skirt could be the one in the entry a couple of days ago....
The photo, from the US National Archives, shows spectators at a High School football game in Portland Oregon – wetter and colder than the game above in Texas.
For reviews of the other books by Terry Shames, click on the tab below. Col reviewed this book over at his Criminal Library a few months back.