In DANCING WITH LYNDON (TCU Press), San Antonio novelist DONLEY WATT treats us to 24 hours of Cottonwood in 1948, a place and time when white pharmacy customers could peruse postcards of bloody lynchings while shopping for health remedies. Attorney Thomas Patterson’s political aspirations are shattered when his acquitted client (a black man) confesses to his crime (raping a white girl). That evening, Patterson’s wife, emboldened by a bit of wine, decides that a few dances with barnstorming senatorial hopeful Lyndon Baines Johnson just might revive Patterson’s fortunes. Watt delivers a perfectly ironic ending to a crisply paced novel that is ultimately about what happens when little fishes try to swim with big fishes.

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