They Don't Dance Much by James Ross

They Don't Dance Much by James Ross

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In this classic country noir, featuring a new introduction by Daniel Woodrell, a small town farmer takes a job at a roadhouse, where unbridled greed leads to a brutal murder

Jack McDonald is barely a farmer. Boll weevils have devoured his cotton crop, his chickens have stopped laying eggs, and everything he owns is mortgaged—even his cow. He has no money, no prospects, and nothing to do but hang around filling stations, wondering where his next drink is coming from. As far as hooch goes, there is no better place to go than Smut Milligan’s, where Breath of Spring moonshine sells for a dollar a pint.

A bootlegger with an entrepreneurial spirit, Milligan has plans to open a roadhouse, and he asks Jack to run the till. The music will be hot, the liquor cheap, and the clientele rough. But the only thing stronger than Milligan’s hooch is his greed, and Jack is slowly drawn into the middle Smut’s dalliances with a married woman, the machinations of corrupt town officials—and a savage act of murder.


“A sleazy, corrupt but completely believable story of a North Carolina town.” —Raymond Chandler

“A very fine book.” —Flannery O’Connor

“[Ross] showed us that a writer can come out of the red-clay gulches of rural North Carolina during the Depression—that is, a writer can come out of absolutely anywhere at any time—and make high art without resorting to tricks, stylish ennui or pointless savagery.” —Bill Morris, The Millions

“Ross writes in classically laconic, wised-up American prose. His voice suits then and now and will still carry well tomorrow.” —Daniel Woodrell

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