Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

The Resentment Game

In Lee Conell’s The Party Upstairs, a father and daughter struggle to find their places in stratified Manhattan

Martin and Ruby, the father-daughter tandem at the center of Lee Conell’s debut novel, The Party Upstairs, live below ground level but don’t at first resemble literature’s famous basement dwellers….

The Resurrection Racket

W.M. Akers returns to his mythical Jazz Age New York City, where time is out of joint

W.M. Akers’ Westside Saints is inundated with death, but that doesn’t keep it from being lively. In the opening scenes of the book (a sequel to his 2019 debut novel…

All Aboard the Crazy Train

Penelope Lemon returns in Operation Dimwit

When last we saw our heroine, at the end of Inman Majors’ Penelope Lemon: Game On!, life had finally become manageable. With a steady job keeping creditors at bay and…

The Love-Rack

David Madden’s inventive biography details the writing life of an American noir master

David Madden describes his new book, The Voice of James M. Cain, as “innovative in style and technique.” He might have added that it’s also a love letter to his…

Disappointed Idealist

Madison Smartt Bell discusses the life and work of novelist Robert Stone

In the preface to Child of Light, his biography of novelist Robert Stone, Madison Smartt Bell describes Stone as a man who “confronted the world with the bright, acidic irony…

Creatures of the Underworld

Michael Farris Smith’s Blackwood depicts small-town Mississippi as a forest of evil

Outside of Red Bluff, Mississippi, a valley covered in kudzu hides a century’s worth of dark secrets. After the town’s long slide into economic annihilation, the remaining residents hack away…