Find a back issue

Merritt Tierce’s Debut Novel Is Great, and You Should Buy It

In our September issue, I wrote a little ditty on Merritt’s Tierce’s first novel, Love Me Back (Doubleday), which comes out Tuesday. You should pre-order it right here. As I said in our pages, “it is a beautifully bleak, sex- and drug-filled story.” Yes, I just quoted myself. Writing for Texas Monthly, Michael Ennis said, “[T]his first novel could well emerge as a milestone in Texas literature.” Seriously. It’s a great book. Tierce is a protégé of Ben Fountain’s. I’m not saying this book is going to do what Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk did. But this book belongs on the same shelf. In fact, these two books can be read as companion pieces that explore some of the same themes — alienation, excess, money — in two very Dallas settings, a Cowboys game and a steakhouse.

Anyway, the book’s narrator is a sexually adventuresome (and deeply damaged) waitress named Marie. Much of her story takes place in a steak joint she calls The Restaurant. The book is autobiographical, though, and Tierce worked for years at Nick & Sam’s. So while The Restaurant isn’t exactly Nick & Sam’s, it’s pretty much Nick & Sam’s. Folks who know the score will recognize real-life Dallas characters in the book.

For the magazine piece, I just had Tierce tell funny stories about celebrities she has waited on. (She was really high on coke when she waited on George Clooney.) There was a whole bunch of stuff, though, that Tierce and I talked about that I didn’t have space for. Like, you know, what’s Joe Palladino going to think about this book and all the screwing and snorting it suggests goes down in his restaurant? Here’s a transcript of the material that didn’t make it into the magazine:

Full Story

Benny Binion To Appear at The Wild Detectives Tonight

Well sorta. Not really Benny Binion himself. Just a guy who knows a lot about Binion.

Perhaps you read the excerpt from the new book Blood Aces that we ran in our August issue. It’s a good book. Definitely worth your time and money, especially if you dig on Dallas history and colorful characters who do things like bootleg whiskey and kill people and invent the World Series of Poker. Doug Swanson, the Morning News investigative reporter, wrote the book. He’ll be at The Wild Detectives tonight at 7 to give an engrossing talk and sign copies of book. There will be drinks. There will be blood. Recommended.

Full Story

St. Vincent On Merritt Tierce’s Love Me Back

St. Vincent, aka erstwhile Dallas resident Annie Clark, was recently interviewed by Andy Morris for GQ UK. The entire thing is entertaining, but I guess the relevant portion for our purposes is when she recommends Merritt Tierce’s new novel, Love Me Back.

Can you recommend a good book?
I just read a book called Love Me Back by a woman from Dallas, Texas called Merritt Tierce. It’s excellent. It’s fiction but it seems to be cut pretty close to her life: she talks about her life in the food service industry (which sounds like it could be a very boring premise) but it’s an awesome book. It’s especially poignant for me reading it because I knew every restaurant she was talking about in Dallas: they remind me of a time in my life. I remember when you were 14 and you’d used to go to Chillis [sic] to hang out on a Friday night and think it was very wild. All the tchotchke Americana on the walls: amazing!

Full Story

The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail: A Visit to the Hole

I’m afraid I’m now being kept in the Seagoville federal prison Special Housing Unit, or SHU, known more informally as “segregation” and even more informally as “the hole.” Several of my fellow jail unit inmates and I were brought here in the wake of a June 17 incident that the Department of Justice is billing as a “semi-disturbance” for which we are to be investigated and perhaps punished — though not necessarily in that order. One awaits one’s disciplinary hearing in the hole, and if one if found guilty, one is sentenced to … the hole. More than a week after being confined, I’ve yet to even be charged with an infraction.

Full Story

The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail: More Like George Bernard Flaw

The other day I was holding forth to one of my fellow inmates about the perfidy of the federal justice system and what have you, noting that the great majority of its “offenders” are guilty of nothing more than consensual crimes like selling drugs and crossing national borders.

“Yeah, they shouldn’t be going after the drug dealers, but they have to crack down on these illegals because they’re wreaking havoc on the economy,” said the inmate who robs armored cars for a living.

Full Story

Go See Rod Davis This Thursday at Louie’s

Rod Davis, for those who don’t know, has done two tours of duty at D Magazine. His last cover story for us, about the drought draining North Texas lakes, came in 2006. Now he’s the director of the Veterans Support Office for the Texas A&M University System. And he’s a novelist. On Thursday, he’ll be signing copies of his new book, South, America (yes, there’s a comma in the title), at Louie’s. Here’s Gary Jacobson’s review in the News. Signing starts at 6, but if I know Rod, he’ll be there earlier.

Full Story

Catch Laray Polk at CentralTrak on Thursday

You might recall Laray Polk’s name from the 2010 story she wrote for us about Harold Simmons and he stood to make millions by storing nuclear waste in questionable way. It was titled “Harold Simmons Is Dallas’ Most Evil Genius.” Well, Laray co-authored a book last year with Noam Chomsky (yes, that Noam Chomsky) called Nuclear War and Environmental Catastrophe. She’ll talk about the book Thursday at CentralTrak. Here’s how the evening is billed:

Topics in the book will be explored in relation to Texas as it has over time become a dumping ground for the country’s radioactive waste. The state has also become a convergent point for environmental activism over the controversial proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The discussion will include images of West Texas’ “Nuclear Alley” and acts of recent nonviolent protest in East Texas, followed by a Q&A.

Full Story

Author of New JFK Book Shreds Grassy Knoll Dictabelt Theory, Rips ‘Blame Dallas First’ Crowd

People pushing JFK assassination-conspiracy theories—and those who blame Dallas’ “poisonous right-wing” atmosphere for the president’s murder—won’t find much to like in the new work of Dr. Larry J. Sabato, founder of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Sabato’s been in town flogging his new book, The Kennedy Half Century. A new TV […]

Full Story

Leading Off (10/28/13)

Wendy Davis Bringing Out the Big Guns. It looks like the Democratic Senator from Fort Worth isn’t messing around. She’s hired Karin Johanson to manage her gubernatorial campaign. That’s the same Johanson who helped Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin defeat a rather beloved (in Wisconsin) former Gov. Tommy Thompson in 2012′s Senate race. Baldwin became the first […]

Full Story

The Daily Show Waxes Poetic About Sen. Ted Cruz’s Obamacare Filibuster

Jon Stewart starts with a critique that was bouncing all over the web during Sen. Cruz’s 21-hour stand-in at the Capitol, mocking his decision to read from Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, since it is a book about “a stubborn jerk who decides he hates something before he’s even tried it.” Ironic then because […]

Full Story

Ron Paul Fan Site Goes After High School in Denton Over Textbook’s Second Amendment Definition

Texas has plenty of well-known textbook-related controversies. But this week the Daily Paul, an officially unaffiliated site popular among fans of Ron Paul, has a post encouraging readers to call Guyer High School, in Denton, and ask administrators-slash-complain about the AP History textbook. On page 102, the book apparently defines the ungrammatical second amendment this […]

Full Story

Ebook About Chris Kyle and Satan, American Sniper in Hell, Disappears from

The day after Chris Kyle was killed in February, a short ebook appeared on It was called American Sniper in Hell, and the author was listed as “Lou Cipher.” The premise, according to the description, had something to do with the just-slain sniper meeting Satan in Hell. I only know about this ebook because […]

Full Story

Three Novels of the Texas Secession: Featuring President Perry, Russo-Texan Fighter Jets, and
Col. James Bowie Reborn

One is self-published, the others published by small presses. So you won’t be surprised to learn that these Texas secession-fantasy novels are full of anti-Democratic Party/socialist/United Nations paranoia. Their titles are Lone Star Daybreak, The Secession of Texas, and Yellow Rose of Texas. That last book is written by a pastor from Michigan. None particularly sounds […]

Full Story