So for the weekend read, I treated myself to ‘Down in the Devil Hole’ by J. David Jaggers.
I had seen this one coming for the last couple of weeks and looked forward to it. I’ve ran across Jaggers before as we frequent the same places. The fellas at Near to the Knuckle did a good job of getting the word out in advance.
I liked this. I liked this one a lot.
Dave had me at the first reference to an Iron Maiden t-shirt and the Dodge Dart Swinger?
Dave Jaggers has hit on a segment of our population that I don’t see a lot written of. Fuck maybe there is and I just don’t see it sheltered as I am here in the meth capital of the world?
Chris Leek in England can write a good ‘White Trash’ story and Alec Cizac did a pretty good job this last year with his ‘Crooked Roads’, but Jaggers has done something here that I have never seen before.
All of the stories are somehow interconnected and take place over a two or three day period as a vicious storm approaches a small and very rural Appalachian (I think?) town. The stories are not extensions of each other as in chapters, but separate stories—each with a beginning, middle and end—told at times, from a different angle or another’s point of view?
The last story brings a sort of closure to the whole affair as it is the first story told from another characters point of view.
‘Down in the Devil Hole’ is chalked full of white trash characters in dirty white undershirts smoking meth or swilling cheap beer. The cars are rusty and the price of a bag of pot or crystal meth has just skyrocketed—due to supply and demand—leaving the tweakers scrambling. The gals that populate the pages are even rustier than the cars if that can be and I almost doubt that there is a full set of teeth to be found?
I read through the collection on my phone taking my time and enjoying each story as it presented itself (often going back and forth with the author between) I threatened to finish the stories in my underwear and drinking whiskey? (The author agreed)
If you like small town crime or maybe stuff written in a rural setting, give ‘Down in the Devil Hole’ by J. David Jaggers a read. At less than three bucks the thing is worth well more than the price of admission and I’d like to see something from Jaggers in a novella or even novel length with the same sort of characters in mind?
Until then…I’ll continued to sip Makers Mark on my front porch in my dirty ragged underwear while I listen to the latest Iron Maiden album (Book of Souls…which is also damned good by the way)