The Sweet Spot

What’s Good about Bad Guys

I’m ticking off the main characters of The Sweet Spot one at a time. You’ve met an old coot, an impertinent woman, and the stranger next door. Now meet Walker St. Claire, the bad guy in my soon-to-be-released hilltown novel.

Walker is the younger and only brother of Gil St. Claire, who died in Vietnam. For the past couple of years, he’s been having an affair with Gil’s widow, Edie, one of the novel’s main characters. Oh, yeah, Walker is unhappily married to a beast of a woman and the father of twin boys.

It’s a miracle they have hidden the affair in the nosy hilltown of Conwell. But that doesn’t last.

Here’s a little bit about Walker: he’s a successful building contractor in the hilltowns. He hangs out at the Do-Si-Do bar. Yes, he’s a bit of a drinker. Although he’s not much of a family man, he does teach his boys everything he knows about baseball.

He’s good looking in a country kind of way.

Walker’s also cocky although that’s tempered a bit because his parents clearly favored his brother. That hurts. He’s also married to a woman he doesn’t love. They got hitched after she got pregnant.

And then, there’s Walker’s love for Edie. Their relationship helps Edie ease the grief of losing her husband. But it means much more for Walker. He gets quite possessive of Edie, which ultimately leads to a tragic turn of events.

My former agent hated Walker. He said the man had no redeeming qualities.

I disagree.

I understand why Walker acts that way. Although he is my creation like all of the novel’s people, I’ve met men like Walker who let their emotions override good sense. They make bad decisions. Certainly, he does.

He’s a necessary part of this novel’s story. I’m not one to write about sweetness and light. Certainly, there are bad guys in my other hilltown novels. Walker is the first you will meet and actually the nicest of the bunch.

Here is a scene from early in The Sweet Spot, set for a release in January. Walker meets up with Edie for a romp in the empty apartment above his parents’ general store.

Now she slipped her hand from Walker as she tried to get up, but his fingers cuffed her wrist to keep her from leaving.

“Where’re you going?” he asked.

“To the bathroom.”

“Stay here.”

Edie rolled onto her side to face him.

“How’s the new job?” she asked.

He frowned.

“Damn New Yorkers. You know who I mean, the couple that bought the old Franklin place on the south end of town. They can’t make up their fuckin’ minds.”


“The woman wants wainscoting in the dining room. The man wants a chair rail. I joked they might have to flip a coin cause one of ’em didn’t want what the other one did. Maybe they’ll do both. You know how New Yorkers are.”


“First, they asked for exposed beams in the kitchen. Now they’re not sure it’s what they want. They’re gonna get back to me on that one.”


“On top of that, one of my framers quit mid-week. Couldn’t hack the work. Remember I told you about Tom? I had my doubts he’d last anyway, but I thought I was doin’ his family a favor. Dumb fuck can’t hold down a job for long. I feel sorry for his wife and kids.”


“To top if off, the lumberyard messed up my material order. It set me back today. I hate that shit.”

“You’ll fix it, Walker,” she said. “You always do.”

Walker sighed. The air came from deep inside him.

“Yeah, Edie, I will. Hey, I see you got a new neighbor. You meet him yet?”

Edie shook her head.

“I heard about him though. I think he’s the one who was at Gil’s ceremony on Memorial Day.”

“I saw him that day, too. Seems like he was in an accident or something.”

“I need to go over. Pop and Aunt Leona already have. They say he’s really nice.”

“You do that. At least, I won’t have to worry about him.”

“Why do you say that?” Edie asked.

“You haven’t seen him up close. He’s one ugly son of a bitch. I can’t see a woman wanting to be with him for free.”

“Walker, you’re not being very nice. Suppose he was in Vietnam like Gil?”

“Then I feel real sorry for him.” He gazed around the room. “We’ll have to do this again.”

Edie shifted.

“Not so fast.” His hand closed tighter. “What’s with you and Lonny?”

“Him? We’re just having some laughs,” Edie said.

“I heard you both left at the same time the other night. You sleep with him?”

“We left at the same time? So what. Walker, you’re hurting my wrist.”

His lips opened and shut, but he didn’t speak. He loosened his grip.

“Tell me more,” he said.

“I was having fun, just like you and me are having fun.”

“Fun. Is that what this is?”

“What else can it be, Walker?”

“I’m hoping for more.”


ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: We got a bit of snow yesterday. I took this photo on the back porch. That’s my office window and a bit of snow-covered flower garden.