Review of PECKERWOOD by Jedidiah Ayres

Jedidiah Ayres
Broken River Books

A half-assed convenience store stick-up man, an ex-biker looking to leave his criminal empire behind him, and a dirty sheriff populate and converge in Jed Ayres’ novel, Peckerwood. Terry Hickerson, a petty criminal with little motivation beyond his next bender complicates his life by sleeping with the sheriff’s rebellious daughter. Hickerson and his partner in crime Cal, decide to up their small time scores by blackmailing a closeted televangelist. They just have to stay one step ahead of the law and any of Chowder Thompson’s cohorts if hope to enjoy their score.

Sheriff Jimmy Mondale has found his silent partnership with Chowder Thompson under the close scrutiny of a hot shot Assistant State’s Attorney looking to make a name for himself by taking down the corrupt lawman. The ASA just has to find something to connect the business partners. Mondale and Chowder have maintained their drug and prostitute empire from all types of threats before, but this is one that brings all kinds of federal trouble with it. Further distracting Mondale is the reappearance of his youngest daughter and the persistent rumors of her running around with Terry Hickerson.

jed2Ayres broadly plots a collision course for all three men when an unforeseen tragedy occurs, propelling them to violent showdowns. Like all of Ayres work so far, the plot moves at a fevered pace and he leaves his dark comedic stamp all over the mounting chaos.

Tim Hennessy