The Mighty Spartan!
by Edmond P. DeRousse
LitFire Publishing

"I like living in Sparta. It is quiet and full of hard working, caring, family centered people."

Pierre “Pete” Russey is a native son of Sparta, Illinois, a town of just a few thousand people located in the southern part of the state. Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, Pete gets into the kind of fun and trouble that any kid of the era would happily claim—from secluded dates by the lakeside to playing Cowboys and Indians with the neighborhood children. Pete isn’t the kind of person that seeks out trouble but simply gets caught up in whatever mischief his friends are cooking up. As Pete recalls stories from his time in Sparta both as a youth and then later as an older man settling down in his hometown, there’s plenty of adventure, family, and historical happenings even an hour away from the big cities.

Though a work of fiction, the author’s own time growing up and then returning to Southern Illinois serves as the inspiration for this collection of stories, and surely an unknown amount of direct influence, kept secret from the reader with a yarn-spinner’s wink. The division between the first part of the book with its unsure teenage moments and the latter portion’s assured, confident, masculine, and grown attitude serves as two ends of an interesting tale of small-town life. These short stories provide entertainment in just about every genre from romance to horror to suspense, while also providing some historical perspective about life growing up during the Civil Rights Movement, the Cold War, and the impact of a changing economy on the more rural parts of the country. Full of fascinating storytelling and plenty of humanity, this book is perfect for reading on the porch on a sunny day.

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