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Just Like That

Just Like That [Kindle Edition]

Les Edgerton
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Les Edgerton’s buddy novel, JUST LIKE THAT, is based on an actual trip he took with an ex-prison cellmate under similar circumstances as protagonist Jake Mayes does in this narrative. The scenes in Pendleton are also based on true experiences he had while incarcerated. Approximately 85% of the novel is taken from real life.

Jake and his pal Bud’s journey begins six months after he is released on parole and is occasioned when his girlfriend Donna dumps him and aborts their child. After an aborted suicide attempt where the Norelco shaver cord he used to hang himself broke, on an impulse—the source of the title; everything in Jake’s life happens “just like that”—he calls up Bud, who lives by the same credo, and the two take off with no particular destination in mind. They’re just going “south”--somewhere where it’s warm. An hour before they leave, Jake on another impulse, holds up a convenience store to get some traveling money.

Ultimately, they end up in New Orleans and then Lake Charles, Louisiana and from there, back to Indiana.

Along the way are many “watercooler” moments, such as when an inmate sinks a meat cleaver into another inmate’s blue-clad stomach, a physical encounter with two rednecks in Kentucky where Bud shoots one of the men, the bullet bouncing harmlessly off the man’s thick skull, Jake’s ongoing romance with Donna, the funeral of Jake’s father which he attends with a whore, multiple burglaries, armed robberies, a brief affair with a black woman, and an adventure with a drunk Santa Claus. Near the end Jake takes another fall when he is caught burglarizing a bar back in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and gets shot in the leg and is returned to Pendleton where he kills the inmate he’d had a nasty encounter during his first stay in prison. In the process, Jake’s philosophy of life undergoes a sea change and he comes up with this:

Portions of JUST LIKE THAT have previously appeared as short stories in the literary magazines High Plains Literary Review, Murdaland, and Flatmancrooked. The story that appeared in High Plains was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was selected for inclusion in Houghton-Mifflin’s “Best American Mystery Stories, 2001.”

As a note of possible interest, Cathy Johns, the P.R. Director and Assistant Warden of The Farm (the infamous Louisiana state prison at Angola) read this novel and told Edgerton that he'd captured the true spirit of the criminal mind better than anything she'd ever read.

About the Author

Ex-con Les Edgerton has thirteen books in print, with several more forthcoming. Since his prison days, he has earned a B.A. from Indiana University and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. His work has been nominated for or won several awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Award (Short story category), Pushcart Prize, the Violet Crown Book Award, the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse Jones Award and others. A story of his was included in the Houghton-Mifflin Best American Mystery Stories 2001. He is Editor-at-Large for Noir Nation.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 445 KB
  • Print Length: 254 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615572227
  • Publisher: StoneGate Ink; 1 edition (16 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005GHDY82
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #560,731 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Les Edgerton has published fifteen books, the latest being "The Rapist." His most popular book is the writer's text, "Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go." His own favorites are his collection, titled, "Monday's Meal," which received a glowing review from the NY Times in which he was compared favorably to Raymond Carver, his writing text, "Hooked" and his recent noir thriller, "The Bitch" and his existential novella, "The Rapist".

He has a blog on writing at which he invites you to visit.

He lives with his wife Mary in Ft. Wayne, IN. He has two daughters--Britney and Sienna--from a previous marriage, and his son, Mike, with Mary. He teaches classes online for the New York Writer's Workshop via Skype along with author Jenny Milchman, and teaches a private, ongoing class on novel writing. In the past, he has taught creative writing for the UCLA Extension Writer's Program, Trine University, St. Francis University, and was Writer-in-Residence for the University of Toledo for three years.

Edgerton is an ex-con, having served two years of a 2-5 sentence at Pendleton Reformatory in the sixties for second-degree burglary. The sentence was the result of a plea bargain where it was reduced to a single charge from 182 burglaries, two strong-arm robberies, an armed robbery, and a count of possession with intent to deal. Today, he's completely reformed and you can invite him into your home and when he leaves you won't have to count the silverware... Prior to this little "trouble" Les served 4 years in the U.S. Navy as a cryptographer who had "up close and personal" experience with the Cuban Crisis and the beginning of the Vietnam War.

After making parole from Pendleton, Edgerton obtained his B.A. from Indiana University (Honors of Distinction), where he was elected Student Body President, and then received his MFA in Writing (Fiction) from Vermont College. He teaches workshops nationwide on writing, specializing in classes and seminars on the writer's voice and story beginnings. He also coaches writers on their novels and the fee is $100 per hour.

He was born in Odessa, TX on Feb. 13, 1943 and grew up in a variety of places, including Freeport, TX and South Bend, IN. He is the oldest of five and has two surviving sisters (his sister Jo passed away) and a brother. Growing up in Freeport, his family ate all their meals at his grandmother's bar and restaurant, and before the age of twelve, Les had worked every job in the bar, including serving alcohol and food (those were different times, before the government assumed the job of parenting and protecting us from ourselves). When he turned 12, his grandmother told him he was old enough to learn the taxi-cab business which she owned and he began his first day on the midnight shift. An hour after he began, one of the cab drivers shot and killed another driver who was tormenting him with a rattlesnake, and Les made the call to the police. Later, he was called on to testify at the man's trial and the defendant was found innocent as he was acting in self-defense.

These days, he's working on a memoir, several novels, several nonfiction projects and appearing at various workshops. His nihilistic noir novel just came out in March, 2013 from New Pulp Press titled "The Rapist" which is being praised highly in advance, several reviewers comparing it to Camus and Simenon. He invites readers of his work to contact him at or to visit his blog at

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLAM! 15 Sept. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
JUST LIKE THAT has it all. Great dialogue, whipcrack scenes and meaty characters haul you along on a hardboiled crime road-trip worthy of the Elmore Leonard and Joe R Lansdale. This then transforms into a terrific look at life behind bars. Most of all, this is a brilliant charter study full of a love of life and you can see why Edgerton has been described as a mixture of Charles Bukowski and Eddie Bunker. A shot to the heart as well as the head, JUST LIKE THAT is highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uneasy time 21 Aug. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Les Edgerton takes incidents from his own early life and commits them to (electronic) paper with an honesty and integrity that you come across all too rarely. Just Like That starts as a buddy book & ends as a jailhouse book, the two sides weighted almost equally. It barely let's up with the action as Jake, Les' alter-ego, goes from one bad choice to another and ends up back in Pendleton jail for the failed robbery of a bar. A nasty, to put it mildly, encounter with another inmate colours the rest of the book from here as the daily grind and desperation of jail life unfolds and ends in murder.

What stood out for me was the writing style - it's written in a conversational first person tone that really draws you in and keeps you reading even though some of the events descibed are really grim. Must be the years behind the barbers chair that have honed that kind of storytelling style! Obvious comparisons here to the work of Eddie Bunker as they both cover similar terrain but Mr Edgerton throws in a welcome sense of black humour without smoothing the edges too much.

Will be checking out the rest of Mr Edgertons output (he has at least 3 more novels & a short story collection out soon)as this one hit the spot. Enjoy
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blunt as a cut throat razor 9 Dec. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Jake Mayes, ex-con and tough guy, decides to take a road trip with Bud, a cell mate from the worst prison in the US. First he needs some money so Mayes robs a garage, then takes off. Through bar fights, hookers and more robberies Mayes makes a living.
However, before long Mayes gets caught and is back inside where he experiences more of the tough side of life.

This weekend I stand accused of being a bad father, and it's all Les Edgerton's fault. You see in a typical week I am away for at least four days, so when home it's family time.

Then I received Just Like That and trouble flared because I just read and ignored everyone.

One aspect to note up front. The author states in the opening chapter that the book is 80 to 85% autobiographical. It's not clear what's fiction and what isn't. But I don't think this affects the overall read, it adds to it.

The book opens with the author in prison and we receive a brief glimpse of life inside. Once he makes parole Jake Mayes impulsively decides to go on a road trip with a fellow ex-inmate, Bud. The first half of Just Like That comprises the trip, then in the second half he's back in prison for another robbery (and in the process got shot).

Just Like That is not your average criminal recounting his experiences, far from it. This is a fascinating, enthralling tale. What differentiates it is the author makes absolutely no attempt to hide several aspects. For one, quite early Mayes / Edgerton admits his fear at living in a prison, how you have to adapt to a new set of behaviours and the implications if you fail are by turns revealing and chilling. This is a tough guy, who had a difficult upbringing and spent several years inside what was named as the worst prison in the US. Afraid? Surely not!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing book 31 July 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
JUST LIKE THAT begins with a lengthy foreward in which we learn the prison stories/road movie book we are about to read is '80-85%' true. With the brilliant edginess of Edgerton's writing - even in the foreward - I was left in no doubt I would be in for quite a ride. And not all of it comfortable.

JLT begins with the central character, Jake Mayes, in prison. Eating beans:

We were having beans this meal. That's not news - when we don't have beans, that's news. My main concern was not biting down on a rock. There are rocks all the time in the beans. If I looked around, I would see everyone else eating the same way I was. Carefully, so as not to bit down on a rock. As if I cared.

This single paragraph is a brilliant example of Les Edgerton's writing. The attention to detail - details that can only come from someone who knows - an atmosphere created through these details, and the character of Jake Mayes laid out before us like a corpse. The fact Edgerton does all this within the first paragraph indicates a writer that knows exactly what he is doing.

As we follow Jake through parole and onto the streets, we have a hope he will turn his life around, make something of it. But Jake, Jake is a man with a broken heart that is falling to pieces and hardening by the day. Next thing we know, Jake is phoning up his pal Bud, and a nihilistic road trip ensues in which the two men lurch from one town to the next, beer and women, and enough money for both, their only object. Eventually, Jake and Bud go their separate ways, and Jake ends up back in 'the joint'.

Indeed, JLT is much more of a prison story than a road trip.

But therein lies its strength.

The prison sections are astounding in their detail, their atmosphere.
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