Review of a Forgotten Classic: They Don’t Dance Much by James Ross

They Don't Dance Much, 1952.1

James Ross was a writer from North Carolina, he wrote some short stories and wrote for newspapers in the south.  This book intrigued me when I heard about it.  James Ross wrote this country noir book before country noir was a thing.  Daniel Woodrell cites this as an influence in his work.  They Don’t Dance Much was published in 1940 and received praise from his contemporaries, people like  Raymond Chandler, William Gay, and Flannery O’Connor loved the book.  Reviewers of this book often compared him to Chandler and even Dashiell Hammett.  You would think we had a noir literary pioneer on our hands!  And we should have, but Ross didn’t like the comparisons and wished he was in the same company of William Faulkner instead.  Even with the great reviews in its time and praise from other great authors, the book never found a big audience and was in and out of print since. Ross was so disappointed in the sales that he stopped writing novels.  Ross was one and out, but what a one.  It is a shame that he didn’t write more, I really enjoyed this book and can’t imagine what he would have written after this.  This takes a poor man who has lost his farm and takes up a job at a roadhouse.  There is a lot of troubling things that happen here, gambling, adultery, drinking, theft and eventually murder.  The writing is very good and even holds up today.  This book is now being printed by the Mysterious Press so it should be fairly easy to find a copy.


If you want to read a cool book that is getting another chance, check it out.  This book still isn’t very widely read.  It only has 140 ratings on goodreads right now, but is well liked by the ones that have read it.  I hope you give this book a chance and find it as good as I did.

Review: The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell


This is a short book written by Daniel Woodrell, someone I’ve been wanting to read for a while.  I learned of Woodrell because of the movie Winter’s Bone a great southern noir staring Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes(I will re watch this and review it at a later time).  I really enjoyed this gritty real looking movie and was very interested in reading the book(still am).  I picked this book up on my Nook because it was on sale for $2.99. Though this is a short book it was really dense with great language.  The story was good, flashing to different times in the characters lives, made for a puzzle that all came together in the end.  This is one of those books that may be even better on a second read so you can pick up on all the little clues through out.  I hope to check out more of Woodrell’s books, especially Winter’s Bone, Tomato Red and the Bayou Trilogy.