The El Paso Red Flame Gas Station and Other Stories – My Review

 
THE EL PASO RED FLAME GAS STATION 
AND OTHER STORIES
by
J. REEDER ARCHULETA
Genre: Fiction /Short Stories / Coming of Age
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing, LLC
Date of Publication: December 8, 2017
Number of Pages: 132

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These short stories are about coming of age in rural far West Texas.  The stories are about the people who have come to stay in a remote part of Texas with a climate that can be harsh and unpredictable and that is demanding and unforgiving.  The stories are told through the eyes of Josh, a young boy, who finds himself alone in a small farm and ranch community and who realizes that he will have to make his own way in this place.  Along the way he meets a group of characters with different takes on life.  Some try to help shield him from the chaos of the world, some try to add more chaos. But all of them, in their own distinct way, through jobs, advice, or actions, play a part in his life.




PRAISE FOR THE EL PASO RED FLAME GAS STATION:
“Punchy, plainspoken dialogue…colorful and charismatic characters…The result is an atmospheric Texas…reminiscent of Larry McMurtry’s “The Last Picture Show.” — Kirkus Reviews

“The universality of Josh’s journey gives it a timeless quality…a rich tapestry…The stories are conveyed in lean, elegant prose reminiscent of Annie Proulx and Cormac McCarthy” — Blue Ink Review
“Archuleta’s collection offers poignant and hopeful stories of determination in the face of need. Thoroughly engaging…narrated with passion and eloquence…” — The Clarion Review 
                     
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review

“The cottonwood trees that stood between the high school building and the football field still held onto most of their leaves but they had begun to take on that dry brittle appearance which along with the dormant Bermuda grass and a chilled breeze out of the north signaled the start of winter in west Texas.”

Reeder Archuleta’s book The El Paso Red Flame Gas Station and Other Stories is a small book of 122 pages and is one of the most readable books I’ve encountered in a while. Archuleta transports readers ever so fleetingly in this small book into the coming of age character, Josh.

Each little story in this well-written and engaging book reveals ever so slightly the life of Josh in a small West Texas town not far from El Paso. From Josh being taken away from his father as a young boy, to being abandoned by his mother just what seems mere months later – Josh lives his life the best way he can given his circumstances.

Archuleta blends the story well with other characters in Josh’s life that you get a good succinct background on each one without much verboseness. Especially on Roble, the girl that fell in love with Josh.

You can clearly tell Archuleta grew up in West Texas from the short, vivid descriptions of the often-harsh landscape that many of us currently call home. The above selection from the book is a perfect example of how I can tell winter is near.

If you love short stories, especially ones based in Texas that can quickly transport you from your world – then Archuleta’s book should be on your reading list.

The author was raised in far West Texas and five generations of his family are in their final resting place there.  His
great-grandfather is buried in Concordia Cemetery in El Paso within spitting distance of the grave of John Wesley Hardin.
Website ║       ║ Amazon Author Page 
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APRIL 17-26, 2018
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Covey Jencks – Notable Quotable

 
COVEY JENCKS
by
Shelton L. Williams
Genre: Mystery / Social Thriller
Publisher: Southern Owl Publications, LLC
Publication Date: February 10, 2018
Number of Pages: 229 pages
Covey Jencks is a murder mystery with a social conscience. Set in West Texas with a cast of colorful and humorous characters, it follows a young lawyer from Washington, DC back to his hometown of Odessa, Texas. He wants and needs to solve a murder case from 1979 in 1993. The problem is that the Odessa Police Department has already found its man, and no one wants to re-visit the case of a black prostitute whose life was seemingly of no consequence to anyone. But Freddie Mae Johnson’s death matters to Covey and eventually he discovers an old flame, JayJay Qualls, who also knew and loved Freddie. Together they undertake an investigation that uncovers not only the truth about Freddie but also the secrets of Odessa’s south side, Mexican gangs, a Boston mobster, and the fallacy of unexamined assumptions. Finding out who killed Freddie is one thing, but preventing their own demise is quite another! 
PRAISE FOR COVEY JENCKS: 
I just love Covey Jencks and JayJay Qualls! They are a modern couple who remind me of Nick and Nora in West Texas. Characters, crimes, and social commentary leap off the page. Shelly can tell a story! Deborah Crombie, author of the award-winning mysteries of Gemma James/Duncan Kincaid

I loved the story, the writing, and the prospects for future Covey Jencks adventures, but what I love the most, as an African- American author and documenter of human experience, is the proof that this work presents of the inextricability of Black and White lives in America. Sharon T. Freeman, CEO of Gems of Wisdom Consulting, author of 24 books, and global development expert

A dead body and a miscarriage of justice? What is a West Texas boy to do? Well, Covey Jencks, an Odessa native who knows some secrets, spurns his job with a Washington, DC law firm, and heads back to his hometown to solve the crime. Prudence Mackintosh, Contributing Editor, Texas Monthly, author of Thundering Sneakers and more

“I have unfinished business in Odessa, by God, Texas.” And with that, we are off on a wild ride with Covey Jencks as he tries to find out who killed Freddie Mae Johnson, a black prostitute, when Covey was a junior in high school. If you like your detectives to be misfits who chafe at the social rules, idealists who try to find the order behind apparent chaos, attractors of a cast of characters as contradictory as the detective is, you will grab hold of Covey and hang on until the end of the ride. When you get there, you’ll know for sure that you’ve been somewhere. Carol Daeley, Professor Emerita of English, Austin College.
Notable Quotable
Notable Quotable 2 Covey Jencks

Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on 4 occasions and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are Washed in the Blood, Summer of 66, and now Covey Jencks. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

4/10/18
Character Interview
4/11/18
Review
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Author Interview
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You are at Forgotten Winds
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