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Red Clay, Blue Cadillac Paperback – Bargain Price, April 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570718245
  • ASIN: B005MWQEYM
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,751,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The first four selections in this collection of 12 stories are so sterling in their style and structure, so well crafted, captivating and entertaining, that the reader wants to slow down and savor their authentic voices and characterizations, qualities that have led Malone to major writing awards (the Edgar, the O. Henry). Of these, the best is "Marie," an account of a blonde beauty's casual seduction and robbery of a foolish high-tech sales rep, but it is closely rivaled by "Stella," which in its time-spanning tale of unrequited and unquestioning love and loyalty recalls the romantic power of stories by Richard Yates and the darker gothic elements of Katherine Anne Porter. The awkwardly rendered "Lucy" is a brief stumble, but Malone recovers in the next selection, "Flonnie," a poignant and powerful examination of contemporary Southern race relations. The next piece, "Patty," a pedestrian, overlong murder mystery, begins the collection's steady descent into the mundane and clich‚d, as Malone fumbles for plot development and original character through the remaining tales, of which only "Mona" stands out. Each of the better stories provides a disquieting look at familiar themes, and each is marked by a writing style fresh with surprising twists and turns of phrase and Malone's remarkable insight into the human condition. Only when Malone becomes heavy-handed does his workmanship overwhelm and tread upon his art. Overall, the collection is more than worthwhile, including some of the best stories to come out of the South in years, but its unevenness betrays the whole.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

After a 10-year hiatus from fiction writing, Malone penned the Cuddy Mangum-Justin Savile mystery First Lady [BKL Ag 01]. He seems to be making up for lost time as, some six months later, he follows up with a collection of a dozen short stories (one of which, "Patty: Love and Other Crimes," also features Cuddy and Justin). The main focus of this collection is southern women, ranging from a smoldering, light-fingered femme fatale with an Elvis obsession to a phenomenally rich socialite whose fifth wedding is marred by murder. Wry, vivid, and classic in structure, these stories are a pleasure to read. They include "Stella: Red Clay," winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, in which a glamorous movie star moves back to her North Carolina hometown after marrying a local man only to be put on trial for murder after he is found dead from a gunshot wound to the head. In the O. Henry Award winner "Meredith: Fast Love," a man falls in love in a flash with the first female jogger anyone has ever seen in Toomis, North Carolina, and attempts to win her favor by running after her. Malone infuses all of these stories with his trademark wit and distinctive voice. A winning collection. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "trumerman" on February 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
The Italians have a word for it: "sprezzatura," meaning "the art of effortless mastery." Michael Malone, North Carolina's twenty-first century Prospero has exactly this kind of prestidigitator's touch with the short story form. His collection entitled: "Red Clay, Blue Cadillac" has a natural flow which makes reading it pleasurably easy. Proof of his legerdemain? Presto! Two of these stories garnered national prizes: "Stella, Red Clay" won the Edgar Allen Poe award and "Meredith: Fast Love" the O.Henry laurel.
A notoriously difficult literary form, the short story usually entails a five point structure: 1. situation 2. generating circumstances 3. rising action 4. climax and 5. denouement. Such literary strictures apparently pose no hardship for Malone who, while maintaining his necromancer's panache with narrative, never loses his inventive prowess. His humor and command of southern speak shine. Here, the novelist presents the reader with a dozen distillate vignettes, every conception dazzlingly real.
Each story bears a woman's name and there are as many types as stories: the omnipotent femme fatale, the psychologically abused wife, the easy sexpot, a feisty and unsinkable old African-American... to name only a quarter ot the total. Malone doesn't limit his magician's sleight of hand to the distaff side either; there are fascinating guys too: a good ole boy hunter type personifying bumpkinhood, a clueless, abusive husband, a slick upper class lawyer, and a harried sports manager. These lists omit many memorable minor characters.
I was delighted when Malone's sleuthing duo, police chief Cuddy Mangum and chief detective Justin Savile whom we know from "Time's Witness" and "Civil Seasons" showed up in the seventh story: "Patty: Love and Other Crimes." A Cahner's Business Information, Inc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anne Johnson on April 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
Mr. Malone, I wish you would stick with Cuddy and Justin as they are your finest, in my opinion. The very best story here is Maddie and I wish you had developed her into a full length book. That story was greeeeat. A good mystery, good historical stuff and a good twist in the end although I think I saw it coming. I cannot get enough of Cuddy and Justin so please carry them on into the future. Please????
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zuheir Al-faqih on August 22, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Malone's skill with prose -- and knowledge of southern women -- are well doemonstrated in this wonderful collection of short stories. While not the stories are not all of the same even level of writing, there is a good range of character types and plot twists to tease and stimulate the imagination. Malone is a good story teller. Some of his lines are memorable -- and quotable. Enjoyed reading it.
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By Cosmoetica on November 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
The first tale, Stella: Red Clay, is perhaps the best in the book, following the decades-long obsession of a boy and his father, Buddy and Clayton Hayes, with a B film starlet, Stella Dora Doyle, who marries well and then murders her husband, only to get off because of some legal maneuvering. Years later, after the father, who was a high school classmate of the starlet, dies, the son meets up with the actress- Stella- and discovers the truth behind the murder. It is a well-structured tale, and uses the soap opera machinations inherent in its telling to great effect. Also, the fades in and out to different time periods works well. It won the Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1997, from the Mystery Writers Of America, and appears in Best Mystery Stories Of The Century.

Marie: Blue Cadillac, originally published in Playboy, does not work nearly so well, as it follows Marie, its blond titular character, and her obsession with Elvis Presley play out as she seduces swindles a gullible would-be suitor: Braxton Cox, who is heading home to Memphis in his Mustang for Thanksgiving. Precious: Winners And Losers follows a divorcee who is troubled over his ex-wife's pending remarriage. Charmain: White Trash Noir is another murder tale that starts off in media res, but is not as good as the first one. It follows a woman who offs her college basketball star husband, and gets sentenced to some time, even though the shooting was really an accident. While the character study of Charmain is strong, the rest of the tale is rather sparsely detailed, and not particularly interesting, as well as too long. Malone does a good job rendering the lead's character and lack of self-esteem.
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