Cornered! By James McKimmey promises a cat and mouse chase of a woman “cornered.” The plotline here is all about what happens when big city crime comes to a small midwestern town, Arrow Junction. The seeds were planted for this episode a year earlier when Ann testified against mobster Tony Fearon. Now facing the electric chair, he now wants to spend his hidden loot on taking out the innocent woman whose testimony put him on death row. Strangely enough, Fearon didn’t think if this before the trial when witness execution would have helped him, but only now when the trial is long over and the sentence about to be carried out. He hires two men, one of them being Billy Quirter, a tough, hard-nosed guy, rather quick with us trigger finger.

Post-trial, Ann’s fled to Omaha and, assuming a new name, marries the first eligible farmer she sees, who turns out to be an odd one who doesn’t like to sleep with her, but beats her in jealousy. This quiet town, Arrow Junction sports a series of other odd characters, including a pudgy shopkeeper who tries to blackmail Ann into sleeping with him, a doctor who couldn’t perform surgery and therefore settled in a small nowhere town where no one trusted him, a sheriff who has never faced trouble and has nightmares about the trouble that’s come his way, two feuding reverends, and Sam and Gloria Dickens, who drive through town in a flashy car and her wearing a mink coat. Of course, the best character of all is this mean little twerp with a gun, Billy Quirter, who singlehandedly takes on the whole town in his mission to take out Ann.

There’s not much mystery where Ann is hiding so it turns out not to be the cat and mouse game readers might expect. The read here is about these odd characters faced with the shock of their lives – Crazy Billy – and how they handle it.

James McKimmey (1923-2011)

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