Book Review by Roy E. Perry: T. R. Pearson’s “Cry Me a River”

Editor’s Note:  Roy E. Perry of Nolensville, Tennessee wrote book reviews for “The Tennessean” and “Nashville Banner” for more than 30 years. Dubbing himself “the amateur philosopher,” Mr. Perry keeps a keen eye on literary and philosophical works of note, and periodically shares his thoughts about them with our readers. In his latest book review, Mr. Perry again spotlights a work by Southern literary artist T.R. Pearson.


On page 2 of Cry Me a River, T. R. Pearson’s sixth novel, the narrator, a policeman, writes of his small town in eastern Virginia near Roanoke: “Our tragic episode [suggests] that we were, after all, under the surface of things, a community of passionate people who sometimes slaughtered each other for love.” The “tragic episode” refers to the murder of two men, a suicide, and the downfall of a femme fatale who is at the heart of the conflict.

When the narrator’s friend, a fellow police officer, is murdered, police have no clue who did the deed, except for a Polaroid photo of a nude woman, tucked into a fold of the murdered man’s wallet; a suspicious person who has been severely beaten; and a person of interest seen driving a sizable yellow Cadillac sedan.

A French phrase sums up the truth of the case: “Cherchez la femme” (“look for the woman”). The narrator says the woman in question “seemed to have a fairly mystical effect. She occupied a middle ground between belle and slattern, between proper women and sluts. She didn’t attempt to disguise her itch and was hardly ashamed of indulging her urges.” Her magical allure threw a hypnotic spell upon men. It’s no surprise, then, when “you get three boys [young men] like these together with only one girl between them, one of them’s bound to be rubbed raw and find himself set off.”

Cry Me a River contains Mr. Pearson’s signature zany humor, such as Monroe, the narrator’s female mongrel, an extravagantly flatulent and vaporous creature that prefers to dine on rotten food from the dumpster, and Ellis, the town drunk who aspires to be a cop. However, the novel is darker and more serious than the author’s previous offerings.

Although Cry Me a River is entertaining, I have a quibble with this work: its denouement, although plausible, is too pat. The author concocts an easy, convenient way to bring the story to a close. And the final chapter is anticlimactic. But not to worry; anything by T. R. Pearson is worth your time.

For other book reviews by Roy E. Perry, please visit:



David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter,” both now available at and Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit:

Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.


Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew




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