Life in a slasher film is easy. You just have to know when to die.

Aerial ViewA suburban town in Texas. Everyone’s got an automatic garage door opener. All the kids jump off a perilous cliff into a shallow river as a rite of passage. The sheriff is a local celebrity. You know this town. You’re from this town.

Zoom InHomecoming princess, Lindsay. She’s just barely escaped death at the hands of a brutal, sadistic murderer in a Michael Jackson mask. Up on the cliff, she was rescued …

Man, where to start. How about with John Mellencamp:

When I was five I walked the fence while grandpa held my hand

“Rain on the Scarecrow” came out in 1985, the year Growing Up Dead in Texas happens. Or, that’s when the events happen. Right around that time I remember walking the fence with my great-granddad, Pop. A hot fence, to keep the cattle out of the ten acres my grandma’s house was (and is) on. And I knew it was hot by then, of course; I’d been za…

I tried so hard to make a YouTube playlist for Growing Up Dead in Texas. Songs that are in the book and songs that kind of encompass the book. But it wasn’t meant to be; the songs I needed can’t be included in playlists.

So, in lieu, I’ll put them all here, in the order that feels right — or, how they happen (for me) in the book. And this first one, it breaks my heart every time, but it always puts it all back together, too:

( there’s an ad on this one, sorry

from the back jacket:

“It’s time for the annual Recipe Days bake-off in Lubbock, Texas. Soccer moms and grandmothers gather to show off their family recipes, learn new secrets for the perfect shortcake, and perhaps earn a chance to be on the famous cooking show, How Would You Cook It, Then?

When the bake-off is crashed by a federation of pro wrestlers — including American Badass, Jersey Devil Jill, Tiny Giant, The Village Person, Jonah the Whale, the Hellb…

The Fast Red Road—A Plainsong is a gleeful, two-fisted plundering of the myth and pop- culture surrounding the American Indian. It is a novel fueled on pot fumes and blues, a surreal pseudo-Western, in which imitation is the sincerest form of subversion. Indians, cowboys, and outlaws are as changeable as their outfits; horses are traded for Trans-Ams, and men are as likely to strike poses from Gunsmoke as they are from Custer’s last stand. Pidgin, the half-blo…

[ these are all links. and I don’t think this is quite complete. I’m always forgetting to stash covers here, then I can’t remember which ones are here, which one’s aren’t. so, if you see one missing, let me know? ]

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[ it’s a mystery to me why these, at least in my Safari, all arrange themselves horizontally in this conveyor belt presentation — used to they were all in a stack. anyway, if you’re on some version of a touch-in

seven spanish angels

Life isn’t easy in El Paso, Texas. Neither is death. Caught between them is crime-scene tech in-training Marta Villarreal, trying to work a case that may very well be her last. And she’s having to work it without her assigned homicide escort, who’s also kind of her boyfriend, and would look a lot more innocent if he would just come in, answer some questions about all these dead girls. Have the Juarez murders come north of the border now, o…

Del Rio Cover
it came from the back of the book

There are borders and then there are borders. Between right and wrong. Between Texas and Mexico. The first is a joke to Dodd Raines, the second a payday. Then there’s the borders he’s made. Between himself and his estranged daughter, the border patrol agent. Between himself and his one-time employers. And there’s another border, one he cares about even less than the Rio Grande: the border between life and death. Used to, the shadow Dodd Raines ca…

ones that got away
from the back of the book :

These thirteen stories are our own lives, inside out. A boy’s summer romance doesn’t end in that good kind of heartbreak, but in blood. A girl on a fishing trip makes a friend in the woods who’s exactly what she needs, except then that friend follows her back to the city. A father hears a voice through his baby monitor that shouldn’t be possible, but now he can’t stop listening. A woman finds out that the shipwreck wasn…

is the author of 22 or 23 books, ~300 stories, and all this stuff here. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, and has a few broken-down old trucks, one PhD, and way too many boots