cover image Sandhill County Lines: Stories

Sandhill County Lines: Stories

Clay Reynolds, . Texas . Tech Univ., $27.95 (252pp) ISBN 978-0-89672-615-4

Reynolds, a university of Texas at Dallas professor and PW contributor, spins nine winning yarns about smalltown people trapped in mean circumstances in, mostly, the Lone Star state. “Mexico” follows a character named Clay as he goes catting with his good old boys at a sad little Mexican border outpost, only to discover that his hometown isn't much different, spiritually, from the shanties, barrooms and whorehouses south of the border. In “Bush League,” a jilted single mother meets an ex-boyfriend, now a sports agent; she wants revenge for their “dirty, tacky little affair,” and he wants to sign her baseball-prodigy son. Connie, the miserable college professor of “Nickelby,” is a “lonely, antique woman living in a lonely, antique house” in rural Canada, who begins to feel kinship with her neighbor's abused dog. “The Baptism” features a solitary hardware store owner in the dust bowl of Agatite, Tex., who learns there are only two things certain in his world: death and Wal-Mart. Reynolds shines penetrating light on small lives. (Oct.)