Townsend Walker
Deeds Publishing (2018)
ISBN 9781947309210
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (6/18)

“3 Women 4 Towns 5 Bodies” by Townsend Walker is an intriguing collection of twelve short stories that take place in vastly different worlds spanning the course of several centuries.  Walker’s writing is seductive and compelling, and his imagination knows no boundaries. His stories range from scandalous to bittersweet and captivate the audience from the very first page.

The stories feature strong, wily females, and the self-titled novella sets the pace for this riveting collection. Readers follow Francesca and Lucia as they use their wits and God-given assets to improve their lot in life.  Always one step ahead, navigating delicate boundaries and questionable intent, these ladies give any man a run for the money. When Lucia meets up with Mia later in the story, the result is cunning, unpredictable and oddly, inspiring. Walker drives his characters through narrow slips of fate with sharp, witty dialogue, suspense and drama. 

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One of my favorite stories in the collection is ‘The Second Coming.’  Set primarily in Texas, the story begins in 1928 with a revival preacher and a farmer’s daughter, aptly named Charity. When the reverend’s foretelling of the second coming of Jesus fails to materialize as planned, Charity takes control of the venture, her astute senses and guile yielding healthy profits for the duo.  The good reverend could certainly learn a thing or two from Charity but, alas, is guided by the worldly pleasures of the flesh.  As a native Austinite, I loved the references to the Driskill Hotel and other local treasures, as well as the way the author captured the vibrancy of the city in another era.

‘A Little Love A Little Shove’ tells a tale of the type of relationship that should never thrive, with the good times blurring the reality of bruises and scars. Only the twisted, irresistible pull of the fine line between love and hate keep the dysfunction alive and strong as the tortured souls feed their relational addiction to each other.  ‘Storm Painter’ yields another tale of love-gone-wrong, as an artist and a writer effectively hamper the other’s creative passions. ‘Cold Beer’ will leave you pining for love lost and better days. All of the stories are unique, bewitching throughout, down to the very last page.

“3 Women 4 Towns 5 Bodies” by Townsend Walker is an impeccably written collection of stories–each one different, but somehow creating the same effect. The dark tone, the morally ambiguous characters, and the vivid imagination of the author make this collection worthy of a permanent place on the bookshelf.