Trashy Behavior

The Shoeshine Boy

by Jim Sanderson

In this series of linked short stories, you will meet folk who inhabit the stark and wild countryside of West Texas, terrain that helps define them as well as the values they elicit many to behave in ways that will startle you. Here are only a few of the characters you will have the privilege of meeting: Otto, a boy who struggles with the slippery nature of words, is captured and tortured by Comanche raiders. Riding with the Comanches is Thomas Jefferson, a black man who tries to help Otto. Deputy Sheriff Justan Brady tries in his inept way "to fix Danny Fowler's killing." Dee Price would willingly show you her knife scars as well as her mastectomy scars, yet she is still capable of surprising you with her solution to the murder of Danny Fowler. Like many other characters in Trashy Behavior, you will meet Dee Price in more than one story. A young Gregory drives to a ranch to deliver a car to his boss's wife who tries to seduce him, then as he leaves, he runs into two men who blast his car with sawed-off shotguns.

There are many other vividly-presented West Texans in the pages of this collection of stories, ones you will remember long after reading the book. While these are linked stories, you can read them in any order, and all of the tales will grab your attention and keep you turning pages. "Bankers," a story featuring Gregory and his trouble delivering his boss's car, won the Kay Cattrulla Award for Short Fiction presented by the Texas Institute of Letters for the best story by a Texan in 2012.

Order from any bookstore, local or online. This title is also available from Fleur Fine Books of Galveston, Texas. 

About the Author


In the thirty years that Jim Sanderson has been writing seriously, he has been given many labels. He went from being an "aspiring writer" to a "working class, Texas writer" when he won the Kenneth Patchen Prize (92) and published his short story collection, Semi-Private-Rooms (Pig Iron Press, 1995). With the publication of his essay collection, A West Texas Soapbox (1998, Texas A & M Press), he became a Texas humorist and essayist. When he won the 1997 Frank Waters Prize (given for the best novel about the southwest), he was a new "rural Southwestern literary writer." When the novel that won that prize, El Camino Del Rio (University of New Mexico Press, 1998) came out with his editor's label as a "mystery" and was subsequently reviewed in the Washington Post and New York Times as a mystery, he became a mystery writer. With the University of New Mexico Press's publication of two more novels, Safe Delivery (2000, Violet Crown Award finalist) and La Mordida(2002), he became a "literary mystery writer." With the publication of Nevin's History  (Texas Tech University Press, 2004), he became a "historical writer" or a "Western writer."

With Faded Love (Ink Brush Press, 2010), he returned to being a short story writer and was honored by being a finalist for the 2010 Jesse Jones Award for the best book-length fiction by a Texan or about Texas, sponsored by the Texas Institute of Letters.

So Sanderson lets others choose his labels. Dolph's Team (Ink Brush Press, 2011) is another in his literary-mystery series. Trashy Behavior (Lamar University Press, 2013) is a collection of literary short stories. Nothing to Lose (TCU Press, 2014) is a darkly comic literary mystery. And Nothing to Lose's prequel, Hill Country Property (Livingston Press, 2015), is a "historical" novel about the 1970s.

In addition Sanderson has published over eighty short stories, essays, and articles. Most notably, "Bankers" won the 2012 Texas Institute of Letters' Kay Cattarulla Award for the best short story about Texas or by a Texas Writer. Sanderson teaches fiction writing and American literature at Lamar University, where he serves as past chair of the Department of English and Modern Languages and has recently been promoted to Writer in Residence.

Author's web site
San Antonio Express News article, Sanderson in review