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Jim Fraiser's The Delta Factor
Book Review by Kent Fletcher

The Delta Factor by Jim Fraiser, © 2003
Persimmon Press
Jackson, Mississippi

When I was home last month I stopped by Cotton Row Bookstore on Cotton Row in search of more good reading by Southern authors. I found The Delta Factor by Jim Fraiser, and I was thinking, Ah, something different about the Delta; maybe this is just what Iíve been looking for.

Getting into the story took several tries. I had read the opening two chapters and had put the book down, just not able to grasp the focus of the story at first. Then a couple of days ago, when it was hot and muggy here in Texas, I picked the book up and began again.

The setting is in and around Leland, Mississippi, at some indiscernible time. There is a brief background in the prologue, something about a New Year's Eve party, a confrontation between two sometimes lovers, a drunken trip to a cemetery, and a cropduster flying over the cemetery.

A chapter or so later, the story is projected forward a month, maybe two. There has been a wholesale plague of sorts initiated by a person or persons as yet unknown. Mr. Fraiser builds his scenario well, keeping this readerís interest. The only times I was tempted to put the book down this time were when the grass needed cutting and the woodshed gave a forlorn call.

The story as a whole is well written, and even though the outcome is predictable, Mr. Fraiser throws a few quirks into the mix, and there are quite a few happy endings.

My main disgruntlement with the book, however, is the layout. Call me a perfectionist, call me hard to please, whatever. Itís just that when I pay good money for a book that looks enticing by the cover and the endorsements on the back cover, itís really disheartening to discover the failures of the printing press.

For instance, the first 52 pages are in simple document text layout, as in this piece. Everything is left justified which is not quite the norm for books, at least 99% of the books Iíve read in my lifetime. Then, WHAM! on page 53, the layout turns to full-justified, i.e., straight margins on left and right. There were some other subtle and probably not-noticeable errors I found without really looking, such as centering of breaks in the action; you know, the little asterisks between paragraphs. There were also some spelling errors and errors in using quotation marks. But the grammar and structure overall throughout the book made for a very good read. I would just hope Mr. Fraiser peruses and/or proofs what his publisher puts out for sale in the future.

Would I read Mr. Fraiserís books again? You betcha!


Kent Fletcher is a retired Navy man now living in Texas, but born and raised in the Mississippi Delta. Heís been writing reminisces and short stories for a couple of years when he isn't playing/working at woodworking. You can reach Kent directly at hots64.

Kent also maintains a list of his writings at Topica.com. If you will go there and in the search box near the middle of the page type in ďrandom reminiscing,Ē you can easily locate the list. Thanks.


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