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 a suicide attempt where the Norelco shaver cord he used to hang himself breaks, on an impulse—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 and near the end Jake takes a fall when he is caught burglarizing a bar back in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, gets shot in the leg and is returned to Pendleton where he kills the inmate he had a nasty encounter with during his first stay in prison.
Just Like That is based on an actual trip the author took with an ex-prison cellmate under similar circumstances as protagonist Jake Mayes does in the 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. Portions of the book have previously appeared as short stories in the literary magazines Murdaland, Flatmancrooked, and High Plains Literary Review, the latter of which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was selected for inclusion in Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Mystery Stories, 2001.
Praise for JUST LIKE THAT:
“You will learn a lot about how the underworld works in Just Like That. About how the people you read about and watch on television really think, feel and want. Sure it has a bizarre, tortuous structure. It doesn’t really have a beginning or an end. But it’s not meant to be that. It’s not meant to give you a self-affirming life lesson. Some books just let you observe the fascinating, bewildering narrative fabric they’re made of.” —Benoît Lelièvre, Dead End Follies
“Just Like That is crime fiction, stripped bare. The voicing is pitch perfect. Edgerton draws the reader in with frank honest portrayals of life on the run and behind bars, not shying away from humour when it’s the right tool. Then, once he’s got you comfortable, he slams you with reality, making you feel right there with him, in the dark.” —Rob Brunet, author of Stinking Rich
“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s fascinating, challenging, difficult, funny, human and inhuman peppered with moments that are sometimes hard to take, but delivered without pomp, fanfare or a desire for sympathy or tears.” —Keith Nixon, author of the Konstantin crime novel series