[KINDLE] ❦ They Don't Dance Much ➚ James Ross – Writerscompany.co.uk

They Don't Dance Much James Ross 1911 1990 , said by William Gay to be the man who invented Southern noir, wrote only one novel, They Don t Dance Much The story is set in a North Carolina backwoods town, in the Depression years, and as the story opens, the narrator Jack Macdonald has just lost his farm through non payment of taxes Jack spends a lot of his time hanging around the garage and roadside store run by his friend Smuts Milligan Smuts has some big plans for the store, and soon Jack is working for him as Smuts expands his business into a roadside diner and dance hall.But business turns out not to be as good as Smuts had hoped and soon he s looking for alternative sources of income The novel s curious idyllic backwoods charm is interrupted by a harrowing torture and murder as Smuts tries to learn the secret of an old recluse s hoard.It s a novel of rare brilliance Raymond Chandler described it as a sleazy, corrupt but completely believable story of a North Carolina town When Daniel Woodrell reviewe Synopsis blurbCalled by Raymond Chandler a sleazy, corrupt but completely believable story of a North Carolina town, this tough, realis tic novel exemplifies Depression literature in the United States.Falling somewhere between the hard as nails writing of James M Cain and the early stories of Ernest Hemingway, James Ross s novel was for sheer brutality and frankness of language considerably ahead of his reading public s taste for realism untinged with sentiment or profundity The setting of They Don t Dance Much is a roadhouse on the outskirts of a North Carolina town on the border with South Carolina, complete with dance floor, res taurant, gambling room, and cabins rented by the hour In the events described, Smut Milligan, the proprietor, seeks money to keep operating and commits a brutal murder My takeAccording to the list of books I ve read on Goodreads I read this before 2010 with a 3 5 rating which was when I started logging what I was reading My pre 2010 read list was compiled from memory I kind of expected bits of this to come back to me as I re read it but I never got the sense of recovering old ground False memory maybe.A slight post Depression era tale set maybe a year or two before it was written 1940 and in essence it s a story of two men Times are still tight, Jackson McDonald is in debt and is about to lose his family land due to unpaid taxes Smut Mulligan runs a filling station and also sells illegally produced alcohol Mulligan has big plans to turn h Called By Raymond Chandler A Sleazy, Corrupt But Completely Believable Story Of A North Carolina Town, This Tough, Realis Tic Novel Exemplifies Depression Literature In The United States Falling Somewhere Between The Hard As Nails Writing Of James M Cain And The Early Stories Of Ernest Hemingway, James Ross S Novel Was For Sheer Brutality And Frankness Of Language Considerably Ahead Of His Reading Public S Taste For Realism Untinged With Sentiment Or Profundity In His Brilliant Afterword To This New Edition, George V Higgins, Author Of The Recent Best Seller Cogan S Trade,pays Tribute To Ross For His Courage In Telling His Story Truthfully, In All Its Ugliness The Setting Of They Don T Dance Much Is A Roadhouse On The Outskirts Of A North Carolina Town On The Border With South Carolina, Complete With Dance Floor, Res Taurant, Gambling Room, And Cabins Rented By The Hour In The Events Described, Smut Milligan, The Proprietor, Seeks Money To Keep Operating And Commits A Brutal Murder. A murder s a bad thing Here I was mixed up in one and it looked like experience was all I was going to get out of it Smut Milligan is a bootlegger who opens a roadhouse, and finds himself drowning in debt Creditors are closing in and he stands to lose it all But, waitthere s a rumor that one of his customers keeps a large stash of money hidden somewhere on his property So, Smut takes his trustiest employee, Jack McDonald, along to pay the man a visit It turns out to be a very unsocial call, and soon the men share a dark and deadly secret.Money changes everything and life quickly becomes a game of who can turn the other guy in and collect the cash WITHOUT implicating himself Some of the characters who hang out at the roadhouse love to debate whether or not crime pays The answer is it can, but possibly NOT the person or persons who commit the crime.This is a great Southern noir read that should be consi There s an uncharacteristic slow build up to this novel of southern noir set in the outskirts of a Depression era mill town in the north of North Carolina In that build up Smut Mulligan turns his filling station into a roadhouse that sells moonshine and runs crooked card games, it s not difficult to see that things will soon turn nasty The narrator is Jack McDonald, who is out of work having just lost his family farm, and throughout the story is something of a hanger on It is a window into the desperation and depravity of the day, a tale of folk with low expectations still trying to get rich quick Sometimes the characters and settings of a novel are so well described that the author pretty much can t go wrong with the story What is not appealing about a 1940 work of noir fiction set around a North Carolina roadhouse and that features characters with names like Smut Milligan, Catfish Wall, and Badeye Honeycutt But despite the funny character names this is grim and serious stuff Add to that illicit stills, card and fixed dice games, love triangles, bare knuckle boxing, the stifling heat of the Carolina sum They Don t Dance Much is a noir novel set in 1930 s North Carolina It was the only book its author, James Ross, ever completed, and after reading it one wonders why Ross did not go on to produce many novels The book was out of print for many years after being published in 1940 and Mysterious Press wisely chose to re publish the book in 2013, with a forward by Daniel Woodrell Apparently the book received encomiums from Raymond Chandler and Flannery O Connor, upon publication, but even accolades from such august writers did not enhance book sales.The book is a great first effort and it probably helps that Ross was a journalist with excellent writing skills and good descriptive powers The book has been lumped into a category called Country Noir, but this is mainly because it is set in rural North Carolina If it had been written by James M Cain it would simply be labeled as a noir novel The book s story line is pretty simple The narrator is a failed cotton farmer who goes to work for a local thug who has plans to turn his small gas station into a roadhouse He fulfills these plans and hires the narrator farmer to work as his cashier The roadhouse turns out to be a great success and draws many customers But success leads to envy and scheming and the desire for greater success and what ensues is a complex interplay between the town s power brokers and the club s owner and some horrible events occur during the machinations of the roadhouse owner, Originally published in 1940, this down and dirty tale of murder and mayhem is well deserving of a second publishing It is labeled as country noir, which is spot on interesting that the term probably wasn t even around when it was written I keep wanting to refer to it as a potboiler, but it is so much better than that With the name of Smut Milligan, you just know the guy is going to be a mighty unsavory individual Yep, he is Any idea about someone who is called Badeye Honeycutt As you might guess, this fellow has a glass eye that either doesn t fit quite right or is slightly cocked Sad to say, Badeye s good eye is also slightly cocked You can take it from there Nuances fall by the wayside here, the author pulls no punches with the unforgiving nicknames of his characters and they are fun Mean, but fun Slop Face for a pimply faced young sprout and Crip Wood for a townie with a bad limp The book is chock full of quaint colloquial I found that the book had a slow start but picked up about half way through I liked how the narrator started the book the same way that he ended the book..with pretty much nothing He played his role well The stuff in between held my attention causing me to think maybe things might work out for the narrator Also, for a book written in 1940 I thought it was a pretty good little novel Just finished this novel moments ago and I m feeling pretty much pole axed by the quality of the writing and the stunning and beautifully written ending It s a cross between James M Cain and William Faulkner Naaaaahhh, not Faulkner Not really.It s in a league of its own.It s tough and it s hardboiled and a richly rewarding read.If you re a fan of Country Noir you owe it to yourself to read this.I m going to have to cogitate on this one a while.Might try to write a coherent review of this tomorrow or the next day.Doubt I m capable of doing this literary masterpiece justice.It s absolutely the best novel I ve read since Donald Ray Pollock s The Devil All The Time or the last Daniel Woodrell 2nd time around and I m as numb after reading the last page as I was the first time I read this novel.Two hard cases team up to start the finest roadhouse Depression era North Carolina ever saw.The legal liquor and This Depression era novel quickly sank from view when it was first published in 1940 A new edition was released in 1975, with an introduction by George V Higgins, a crime novelist who was then at the peak of his career But even with his endorsement, the book was still little noticed Perhaps the third time will be the charm and the book has now been re released with an introduction by Daniel Woodrell, a great writer perhaps best known for his book, Winter s Bone.The main protagonist is a North Carolina farmer named Jack McDonald Jack is about as down on his luck as any man can get in the middle of the 1930s The Boll weevils have destroyed his cotton he can t pay the money he owes at the bank, and the county is about to seize his land for back taxes Jack makes what seems to be the only logical decision at this point and decides to get drunk.He buys a jar of moonshine from a filling station operator named Smut Milligan Smut s joint is on the outskirts of the small town of Corinth at the junction of River Road and Lover s


About the Author: James Ross

James Ross 1911 1990 was an author of noir fiction Born in North Carolina, he worked as a reporter for the Daily News Greensboro for many years He wrote his first and only novel, They Don t Dance Much, in 1940 The book, considered country noir, was praised by the likes of Raymond Chandler and Flannery O Connor During the decade that followed, Ross published several short stories in liter


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