The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Washed in the Blood - Shelton Williams

Washed in the Blood, 2nd ed.

By Shelton L. Williams. Denton: Zone Press, 2007. Illus with photos and facsimiles. 188 pages. Paperback $15.95 ISBN 0-9777558-6-X

Shelton Williams’ account of the 1961 “Kiss and Kill” murder case outside Odessa is presented with a cold eeriness invoking Hitchcockian surrealism. In the first 2-page chapter, teenager Betty, whose desire, invitation, planning, and assistance is clear, is shot in the back of the head at a quiet, sparse oil field by her friend Mack who somehow finds it okay to be her instrument of death.

Betty’s cousin, Shelton, narrates the real-life drama in this “intersection” of their lives. We are introduced to teenage life in West Texas, football competitiveness near the height of Odessa Permian’s dominance, school cliques, the usual religious hypocrisy and adolescent sexual frenzy, and Betty’s angst of being stuck there. The town and the principal characters are detailed with the informative, yet simple, style common at kitchen tables, front porches, and automobile backseats. Shelton takes you there – through the relationships, the murder, the town’s reaction, the trial, and in this 2nd edition, two extra chapters. Part of Shelton’s success is his unvarnished portrayal of the innocent, the boredom, the anger, and anxiety of Betty and the ultimate cast throughout the city.

Why read the book, maybe because the story could arise from any place, like yours, and the good writing makes you turn the pages.

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