They Don’t Dance Much

They Don’t Dance Much by James Ross

They Don't Dance Much - Southern Illinois Press - 1971

They Don’t Dance Much by James Ross

“Anyone who likes his murders and assaults ghastly and his immoralities frequent and vigorous can’t do better for his money than this enchanting idyll of a Carolina roadhouse and cabin camp. While the book is seldom as explicit as some of Mr. Faulkner’s more celebrated passages, it is sufficiently descriptive for the average stomach; lovers of bourbon whiskey are warned against passages dealing with the disposal of the top-billing corpse; the matter of the corpse’s production roughly follows Shakespeare and the royal princes in the Tower. It is strong enough for us.

The book is not a mere chamber of horrors and ribaldries, however. The grim success story of the roadhouse proprietor creates, if not any factitious sympathy, at least considerable and consistent suspense about the resolution of the man’s career. The final episode of his brutal progress “from the bottom over everyone on top,” as he puts it, is brought about by the mean counter-plotting of his confederate in murder, who is strong only in his desire for his share of the profits of the crime and his indignation when they are withheld. There are a good many loose ends in the book, but they are amusing loose ends. In spite of these irrelevant tags of detail the book has drive and power and an artistic and truly haunting aura of savagery and some horror.”

– From The Saturday Review , November 23, 1940

They Don’t Dance Much – paperback cover

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