5 Better Things to do with your time than read PECKERWOOD


LONESTAR– My first crooked cop crush was on Matthew McConaughey’s Buddy Deeds from John Sayles’ 1996 flick about the discovery of a shallow grave outside a small border town in Texas. The moral complexities of the character were a revelation to me. Yes he personally profited from graft and bribery, and by helping locals skirt the law, but his corruption was not entirely self-serving, nor simply cynical, amoral pragmatism, there was also a sacrificial element and at least the idea of a nobility to it that glimmered occasionally beneath

GIVE US A KISS by Daniel Woodrell – My first exposure to Woodrell’s Ozarks. I’ve lived in Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri and traveled between all three right through the areas he writes about. To see those places and their people brought to life so vividly, violently and relatable made a lasting impression. While The Death of Sweet Mister is probably my favorite of his outlaw Ozark books, Give Us a Kiss is the most fun.

THE WALKAWAY (and other Wayne Ogden tales – particularly SOCKDOLAGER and THE CROW KILLERS) by Scott Phillips. – Ah,Wayne. Pimp, black marketer, bagman, womanizer, killer and all-American asshole. This cat is one of my all-time favorite characters and his rock-steady commitment to always only serving himself probably informed the creation of my own character, PECKERWOOD’s Terry Hickerson more than any other. But Wayne… there’s just no outdoing Wayne. His awfulness translates into great reading every time.

Eat at:
Lambert’s Café-The Only Home of Throwed Rolls  – The area of Missouri that Peckerwood is set in, where the monetary and cultural radiation of Branson to the north and Wal-Mart to the south are seeping into the natural beauty and harsh reality of daily life, is a place I’m fond of and sad for and fascinated by in rotating shifts, and no place offers up a more intriguing and filling one-stop shop experience of the area than Lambert’s. They serve awesome heaps of damn good comfort food daily to throngs of locals and tourists alike (some of the tourists are more akin to pilgrims actually), and they rain down hot ‘throwed’ rolls across the large dining room to any and every hand held high as many times as you’d care to catch one. It’s like David Lynch turned the golly-gee and the menace up to eleven at the RR and let the cameras roll. Then, while you digest your meal, get back on the highway and pick a direction. You’ll find idyllic fishing spots and nightmare meth shacks or be confronted with equal angles on your remaining dollars flashed at you from billboards for mega churches and porno depots, the Precious Moments Chapel and The Crazyhorse Gentlemen’s Club – the whole spectrum of crass juxtaposed by handsome land difficult to make a living off of.

My novel PECKERWOOD and then claim to have read it – I’ll get my pittance and you’ll have my gratitude (and the respect of your friends) without having wasted several hours of your life you’ll never have back. Everybody wins. Or even better, send me proof of purchase and I’ll just tell you how it ends. Or I could tell you how Breaking Bad ends, ‘cause that was awesome.

Jedidiah Ayres