“Steve Weddle’s writing is downright dazzling.”New York Times

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Country Hardball

South of Bradley

Remembering Bowling Green


Read the first story in Country Hardball, “The Ravine


“Ex-con Roy Alison would like to go straight, but he can’t seem to make up for past mistakes…. Weddle’s debut novel is a suspenseful series of interrelated stories…of people facing nothing but bad options, though Roy eventually manages to make something good come from his situation.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“If there’s one book you read this winter, it’s this book, this author, this instant.” – Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

“These skillfully wrought interconnected stories form a debut novel that is relentless in describing the lives of people who are captives not only of their environment but also of their own histories.” – Booklist

“I cared about what happened to the residents of this rural southern community, I needed to know what kinds of shenanigans would happen next, I cried at deaths and gasped in all the appropriate places.” – BookSnobbery

“Calling itself a ‘novel-in-stories,’ this debut collection of 20 tales takes a close, respectful look at poor folks in contemporary rural Arkansas. … Fine descriptions, all of people, enliven the plain writing. …Except for one Roy Alison, we don’t hear much of the characters’ inner lives, as if deprivation has atrophied their capacity to reflect. The final three stories examine whether or not Roy will change his ways. Dark, noirish and worth a look.” – Kirkus

“As he chronicles Roy’s quest for redemption, Weddle tells the story of a single father struggling to raise a sensitive, frightened son; of parents who hope that sports will save their child from a life of poverty; of a shy teenager who misses the chance to express his love to the girl he adores, with dire consequences; and of families devastated by drugs, financial hardship, and war.” – The Big Thrill

“Dark and heavy, but deeply honestCountry Hardball comes from a place of sharp awareness and shouldn’t be missed.”  – River City Reading

“It has the intimacy, the urgency, the understated language and the wicked syntax to please whatever reader is going to give it a chance.” – DEF

“His characters carry the weight of their bad luck and sins through a landscape of economic devastation, where bad choices and worse choices seem the only available options. And still they search for something beautiful—love, faith, a moment of grace among the ruins—as they struggle to become better people than they were the day before. Steve Weddle is a powerful, empathetic writer and Country Hardball is a stunning debut. Do not miss it.” – Sean Chercover

Country Hardball sticks with you because Weddle’s writing feels real.” – Spinetingler Magazine

“Steve Weddle’s writing is downright dazzling.” – New York Times

“Steve Weddle’s Country Hardball is a perfect combination of the broken-hearted and the just flat broke. Perfect for anybody who’s ever found themselves at the dead end of a dirt road, and decided, well, hell, there’s nothing to turn around for. Perfect for those who bear their lives like an amputated limb. Here’s hoping Weddle never stops writing, because Country Hardball is just about the perfect book.”  – Benjamin Whitmer

“Steve Weddle’s poignant, powerful prose brings it to life in all of its desperate passion and hopeless aggression. Once I started reading, there was no way I could look away.” – Hilary Davidson

“The characters and their many misdeeds are rendered unflinchingly but not without sympathy. Their stories, to a one, stand on their own – but their whole is truly greater than their sum.” – Chris F. Holm

Country Hardball is stark, but you won’t be able to put it down. Weddle knows how to surprise you, not with gritty action or gratuitous, puffed up ugliness, but with powerful emotion. Rare is the author who can haunt you. Weddle is one of them. ” – Clayton Lindemuth

“Steve Weddle’s novel in stories is such a gem of a book, brimming with intense, sharp writing I can’t stop myself from sinking back into it, reveling in it.” – Untitled*United

“The characters in Steve Weddle’s COUNTRY HARDBALL could be contemporary Southern cousins to Sherwood Anderson’s in WINESBURG, OHIO. They are characters whose lives and stories reside between the lines and whose dreams and regrets are bigger than the circumstances of their nights and days. ” – Lynn Kostoff

“True to the main title, each story is spare, unpretentious, and hard-hitting. Imagination fills the space between stories as readers dust themselves off and get back in the box.” – Gerald So

“A remarkable book on all levels.” – Dan O’Shea

“Weddle brings an artist’s palette to his storytelling.” – Reviewing the Evidence

“One of my favorite reads of the year.” – Christopher Irvin

“It’s funny and grim and poignant and just fantastically written–and it truly rewards a reader who pays attention.” – Rob W. Hart

“This is the shit I’m talking about. Not that exploitative-vibing shit, the good shit. A novel in short stories, it is set in a dying community in Arkansas. Still different from my own northern community folks, it nonetheless captures the lives and heartaches and breaks of people in a way that I haven’t seen a lot of writers do outside of the late Joe Bageant‘s nonfiction.” – Chris LaTray

“Each of the stories was my favourite while I was reading it.” – Nigel Bird

“Weddle’s writing is low-key, unflashy. He uses words for power and accuracy, not show. He is after intimacy, odd moments and big life choices both. He goes for bone-shaking honesty.” – Mark Stevens

“A great read, with lots of heart and just enough grit.” – Gordon Highland

“Weddle achieves a rare balance between poetry and destruction, brutal honesty and deep respect for his character regardless of their flaws.” – Gabino Iglesias

Country Hardball is an incredibly powerful collection.” – Elizabeth A. White

Country Hardball is a wonderful collection of short stories all revolving around the same small Arkansas town. While the stories link together like puzzle pieces of the town, each story is its own gem, sparkling in its depiction of the characters and events. ” – Jen’s Book Thoughts

“It’s a collection of our stories about our frayed American dream (Bonnie Joe Campbell came to mind while I read this one) that needs to be seen and read about.” — Charlie Stella