As usual -- and thankfully -- the stories are set in the Appalachian states.
In "Dead Confederates", two men find their way toward robbing some Confederate soldiers' graves for their valuable memorabilia. In raiding the second grave, they raise the awareness of the elderly graveyeard caretaker. It turns out that the old man comes from a line of Union sympathizers and, though he initially startles them with his poorly-socialized canine standby, a cocked shotgun, and the threat of a phone call to the sheriff, when it is discovered that they were after Confederate graves, his stance moderates. For a small fee, he lets the two grave robbers go about their business, though does not take his eyes off them:
The old man steps back a few feet and perches his backside on a flat-topped stone next to where we're digging. The shotgun's settled in the crook of his arm.Though I'm not yet a fan of his latest and most acclaimed novel ("Serena"), these short stories are as good as anything he's ever written.
"You ain't needing for that shotgun to be nosed in our direction," Wesley says. "Them things can go off by accident sometimes."
The old man keeps the gun barrel where it is.
"I don't think I've heard the truth walk your lips yet," he tells Wesley. "I'll trust you better with it pointed your way."