James Wade

James Wade
  • Award-winning author James Wade blends atmospheric prose with soul-stirring themes in Hollow Out the Dark, a gothic adventure set against a Depression-era landscape where a whiskey war threatens to decimate a small Texas town.

    A veteran of the Great War, Jesse Cole is grateful for the quiet life he now leads. But when his closest friend runs afoul of local criminals Frog and Squirrel Fenley, Jesse is forced to spin his moral compass and enter a violent and volatile underworld. There he encounters corrupt lawmen, hired assassins, and a dark family secret that will upend all he once knew.

    Complicating matters are Texas Ranger Amon Atkins—who arrives to investigate the Fenleys just as their empire is threatened by a deadly new competitor—and the green-eyed, raven-haired Adaline, a love Jesse thought he’d lost forever.

    With resources scarce and winter falling hard on the town, a desperate Jesse must choose between the law and the lawless and find a way to survive while still protecting the people he loves.

    A heart-pounding tale full of plot-twisting revelations, Hollow Out the Dark brings readers into a whiskey-fueled world where everyone has a secret, and love everlasting balances on the edge of a knife.

  • Winner of the 2023 Spur Award

    James Wade, whose first two novels were praised as “rhapsodic” and “haunting,” delivers his most powerful work to date—a chilling parable about the impossible demands of hate and love, trauma and goodness, vividly set in the landscapes of Texas and Louisiana.

    Beasts of the Earth tells the story of Harlen LeBlanc, a dependable if quiet employee of the Carter Hills High School’s grounds department whose carefully maintained routine is overthrown by an act of violence. As the town searches for answers, LeBlanc strikes out on his own to exonerate a friend while drawing the eyes of the law to himself and fending off unwelcome voices that call for a sterner form of justice.

    Twenty years earlier, young Michael Fischer dreads the return of his father from prison. He spends his days stealing from trap lines in the Louisiana bayou to feed his fanatically religious mother and his cherished younger sister, Doreen. When his father eventually returns, an evil arrives in Michael’s life that sends him running from everything he has ever known. He is rescued by a dying poet and his lover, who extract from him a promise: to be a good man, whatever that may require.

    Beasts of the Earth deftly intertwines these stories, exploring themes of time, fate, and free will, to produce a revelatory conclusion that is both beautiful and heartbreaking.

  • Attempting to escape his abusive father and generations of cyclical poverty, young Jonah Hargrove joins the mysterious River—a teenage girl carrying thousands of dollars in stolen meth—and embarks on a southern gothic odyssey through the East Texas river bottoms.

    They are pursued by local drug kingpin John Curtis and his murderous enforcer, Dakota Cade, with whom River was romantically involved. But Cade and Curtis have their own enemies, as their relationship with the cartel controlling their meth supply begins to sour.

    Keeping tabs on everyone is the Thin Man, a silent assassin who values consequence over mercy.

    Each person is keeping secrets from the others—deadly secrets that will be exposed in savage fashion as their final paths collide and all are forced to come to terms with their choices, their circumstances, and their own definition of God.

    With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into a sinister and sanguinary world, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.

  • A powerful and lyrical debut: a botched robbery sets two men on conflicting journeys across the untamed landscape of the American West.

    After an attempted horse theft goes tragically wrong, sixteen-year-old Caleb Bentley is on the run with his mean-spirited older brother across the American Southwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Caleb’s moral compass and inner courage will be tested as they travel the harsh terrain and encounter those who have carved out a life there, for good or ill.

    Wealthy and bookish Randall Dawson, out of place in this rugged and violent country, is begrudgingly chasing after the Bentley brothers. With little sense of how to survive, much less how to take his revenge, Randall meets Charlotte, a woman experienced in the deadly ways of life in the West. Together they navigate the murky values of vigilante justice.

    Powerful and atmospheric, lyrical and fast-paced, All Things Left Wild is a coming-of-age for one man, a midlife odyssey for the other, and an illustration of the violence and corruption prevalent in our fast-expanding country. It artfully sketches the magnificence of the American West as mirrored in the human soul.