A Body’s Just as Dead
by Cathy Adams
In the town of Drayton, Alabama, the once high-paying manufacturing jobs have been replaced by nail salons and bail bonds. Pete-O Hemper, a diabetic amputee in a wheelchair, feels betrayed by the America he once loved and believed in. On a steady diet of hate radio, he blames everyone around him for trying to remake his country into a place where men like him are no longer in control. Pete-O’s nephew, Robert, jailed on assault charges, is desperate for money and hatches a plan to rob a meth lab. Pete-O’s sister, Lilith Ann, the exhausted matriarch of this family, struggles to hold everyone together when Pete-O brings a Chinese bride to America with a past as dark as his. Sometimes darkly funny, A Body’s Just as Dead captures the 21st century frustration of small-town families who feel the American Dream is in shreds and resent having to share its remnants with people who “aren’t like us.”
In the best tradition of Southern writers, Cathy Adams’s dark humor overrides pessimism and manages to elevate these characters into something noble and endearing. A much-appreciated, lighter treatment of the typically dire representations we expect to see about a place and people left behind.
—Kelly McBurnette-Andronicos, author of The Hall of FInal Ruin
A Body’s Just as Dead is hilarious and wrenching, a portrait of a family’s mistaken pride in its own self-deception. You read it in bursts of laughter, followed by sustained sympathy for characters striving to maintain their dignity in a world they don’t understand or control.
—Kent Meyers, author of Twisted Tree and The Work of Wolves
The somewhat tragic but oft-times humorous struggle of Pete-O Hemper and his down-and-out family to rail against their world puts the spotlight on the other America as only Southern grit can. Bravo!
—Bill Brooks, author of The Girl with the Flamenco Tattoo
About the Author
Cathy Adams has been writing novels nonstop for twenty-five years, ever since she wrote a play consisting of two characters and five lines of dialogue as a first-grader. Opening up the raw insides of what makes us who we are is the basis for most of her stories—when a plot or character makes Cathy feel uncomfortable, then she knows she needs to write about it. A Body’s Just as Dead is inspired by an actual event and comes from her desire to understand why someone planning to buy AA batteries and toilet paper at a Walmart could end up shooting another person out of rage. A native of Alabama, Cathy is a Pushcart Prize-nominated short story writer. She currently resides in Liaoning, China.
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