cover image Man Who Made the Devil Glad

Man Who Made the Devil Glad

Donald McCaig. Random House Value Publishing, $2.99 (214pp) ISBN 978-0-517-56263-5

The author of the well-received Nop's Trials has written an even better novel, whose protagonist is one of those honest, decent men whose moral standards impel him to bring a murderer to justice. Writing in simple, direct prose that is also embued with a poetic turn of phrase, McCaig again focuses on the hardworking farmers and small-business people who live in rural West Virginia. Cub Hamill is sheriff of Tucker County, but he is being challenged for the post by his smarmy, born-again deputy, who wins the election. Cub is more interested in capturing a coyote that has been slaughtering his neighbors' ewes; with the mixture of respect and affection in which he regards all wild creatures, he mentally addresses the coyote as ""the scoundrel.'' But another kind of hunt soon endangers Cub and his new lover, postmistress Maggie Stevenson, as they become the quarries of a murderer who is a true predator, respecting none of the rules of human behavior. McCaig's rendition of country talk is perfect. In spare, laconic dialogue, he conveys the archaic flavor of southern rural speech. He is equally adept at limning character and appearance in a few pithy lines. The book moves swifly to a zinger of a denouement that leaves the reader shocked and moved. This is a great pleasure of a read. (November 1)