Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Where Trouble Sleeps” as Want to Read:
Where Trouble Sleeps
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Where Trouble Sleeps

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  471 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
In 1950, the small town of Listre, North Carolina, had a population of 511 people. Six-year-old Stephen Toomey had to decide for himself who was going to heaven and who was going to hell. In "Where Trouble Sleeps", Edgerton draws on his own childhood to craft a perfect gem of a novel, one that will surprise and delight his fans, old and new.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 20th 1998 by Ballantine Books (first published 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Where Trouble Sleeps, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Where Trouble Sleeps

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 802)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 25, 2013 Sara rated it really liked it
I really wanted to finish the books I was already reading before starting something new, but I couldn't resist a book that starts with "Alease Toomey sat at her dresser, putting on lipstick, getting ready to take her son to see the electric chair for the first time."!
J.R. McLemore
This story was okay. I enjoyed that it was set in the late 40s and that it was a close rural community where a drifting criminal came to prey. However, what I didn't like about it was the amount of religion. I get that these people are religious, yet as a reader, I don't need to peruse sermons and prayers and constant reverence to a deity on every other page. There was so much that I felt it got in the way of the story and found myself rolling my eyes. At times, the characters were so pious that ...more
Juliette Kuhn
Aug 09, 2009 Juliette Kuhn rated it did not like it
Weird. Don't know what else to say. It had a North Carolina connection but just strange.
Mar 10, 2015 Rae rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up two years ago and read it during lunch breaks. It was not compelling, nor a page turner, but it was a pleasant place to go for a little break. Then, one day, I got busy and stopped. I didn't feel a great loss.
Reading this is very much just like sitting on a bench in a small town and watching the people live their ordinary lives around you. Which I think was what was intended and is pleasant in that aim.
Many people did not enjoy or continue this book, and I agree, there is n
Jan Polep
Love the title. Mid-century small town in North in the slow lane...until loaded shotguns, good God-fearing residents and a bad guy passing through town collide. It made sense until the end when it ramped up so high that it became kind of unbelievable for me. Wish I had seen the street map before finishing the book. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill is a publisher with a strong back list. Check it out.
Jan 07, 2010 Dox rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2010
A stranger comes to Listre, looking to see what he can shake out for his own profit. In the meantime, the people in the little town are living their lives. Mainly the story is told from the perspective of a six year old boy who spends a lot of time observing his world.

The best thing about this book was the interview put in as an extra where the author "interviews" his slick, trouble-making character, Jack Umstead. Otherwise, the book was generally easy to read, had enough dialect to feel genuine
Nov 14, 2015 Nann rated it liked it
Set in the fictional town of Listre, North Carolina, in 1950, the town has 511 people and the newest improvement is a blinking light at the main intersection. A stranger comes to town and beguiles some of the townspeople before he is found out. This is a darker and more realistic tale than Edgerton's other novels.
Nov 23, 2009 Cody rated it it was ok
I love Clyde Edgerton but this book lacked the humor of RANEY or WALKING ACROSS EGYPT. It was a disappointment after reading the reviews saying it was his best book, etc.

I would read on of the above mentioned books before this or THE FLOATPLANE NOTEBOOKS. This is a novel to read when you've read the rest of his work.
Feb 09, 2009 Marguerite rated it really liked it
Small-town North Carolina meets a bad apple who's out to seduce the town's women and rob everyone else, even the Baptist church. Does Listre stand a chance? Clyde Edgerton's hamlet is drawn with love and humor. In Listre, everyone knows everyone else's bidness, from the shotgun-toting old maid to the preacher who sins in his heart to the dog that forecasts the weather. Without giving anything away, I'll just note that small town doesn't mean simple-minded. The characters in Where Trouble Sleeps ...more
Sep 29, 2015 Maria rated it did not like it
Quirky. I finished it because I kept thinking it was going to pick up. Never did. Small town, tried to develop quirky characters and undertone of Christian values but didn't work. Book description on back was inaccurate.
Tanya Procknow
Not sure if I liked it. Small town story, not terribly exciting, rather like a small town. The only character I really liked was Stephen, the little boy who sees everything.
Feb 17, 2014 Katie rated it it was ok
I only finished it because I finish most books I pick up. Not terrible, just not very good either.
Apr 09, 2009 Louise rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Pretty good novel.

From back cover:

"Here, evil comes to sleepy Listre, N.C., circa 1950, in the form of a stranger with a pencil-thin mustache and a trunkful of dirty movies. Listre is the kind of rustic crossroads where the most exciting event in years was a collision between a mule and a pickup truck, where boys slip over to the Gulf station for a Nehi and a peek at the pinup calendar, and where everybody knows everybody else's secrets. It's the kind of place, in other words, where it seems lik
Rachel Beck
Jul 09, 2014 Rachel Beck rated it did not like it
Shelves: quitter
I wanted to like this, but found it dull and disjointed. I gave it up.
Sep 26, 2008 Kellie rated it did not like it
This was a quirky book about a small southern N.C. town. They have a strange visitor (Jack Umstead) who has come to scope out the place and maybe steal something. The author introduces several people who live in the town, however, he doesn’t really develop them. They just play the parts of town folk. The stranger tries to fit in and even gets friendly with some of the people in town before he does his evil deed. The book is suppose to be funny and it is in some parts. I just didn’t think it was ...more
Maggie Shanley
Mar 08, 2014 Maggie Shanley rated it liked it
Weird story of a sleepy southern town inhabited by oddballs.
Aug 22, 2011 Pamela rated it it was ok
This is the first Edgerton I've read, and I was a bit disappointed. The story was ok. The writing was ok. The characters were ok. And that's about it--ok.

I kept feeling that Edgerton wasn't all that enthused about it himself, that it was something he just churned out for some particular reason. Or perhaps this is his style? Anyway, I do believe that in the hands of another writer--someone like fanny flagg it would have been much, much better.
Delores Alger
Jul 02, 2014 Delores Alger rated it did not like it
couldn't get into
Apr 20, 2013 Rose rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what to say about this book. I simply loved Edgerton's "Walking Across Egypt," and I was hoping to be similarly entertained. I was not. This time, Listre, North Carolina, seemed peopled with only weirdos, not one of whom I could relate to or completely understand. The con-man drifter who stirs things up was believable, but the rest of the characters were not. I read the whole book hoping that at some point I'd grow to love it, but I'm not sure I even liked it all that much. A disapp ...more
Bethie Eaton
Mar 29, 2008 Bethie Eaton rated it it was ok
This book wasn't hitting on much for me. I don't think the title has much of anything to do with the book. "Trouble is the name of a bulldog who can predict if it will rain or not. He's mentioned 3 times in the book.

The town of Listre is located in the deep south where everyone knows everyone else's business and life centers around the church.

The story centers around a few days in the life of 7yr old boy and stranger happens into town. The stranger is anything but an honest person.
Sep 06, 2007 Katrina rated it really liked it
Really funny- It starts off in a really small town in the 50s on a day when a housewife brings her 6-year-old son and his friend to the local prison to see the electric chair. She does this in the hope that it will scare the both of them from committing any sins. Meanwhile, a seedy character is on his way to this small town, where everyone knows each other, driving a stolen car. Find out what happens.....

Jun 04, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it
(Notes written in 1997) This book is about a small southern community in 1950 and what happens when a dishonest outsider comes to town. An honest approach to small-town people and their flaws without completely sterotyping them, but I feel that it lacks the humor and appeal of Edgerton's Raney.
Sarah Key
May 16, 2012 Sarah Key rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
The setting drove the story and kept me entertained. The characters and plot did not. It was a slow moving book, but it had some great scenes. I can't say that I particularly recommend Where Trouble Sleeps, but I look forward to reading more of Edgerton's work.
Aug 08, 2008 Lanette rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I picked this book up awhile ago at a yardsale simply because it was a Ballentine, and I always seem to enjoy their "Reader's Circle" books. Unfortunately, this is the first one that I haven't liked AT ALL. The story was disjointed and just plain weird.
Oct 15, 2008 Kristen rated it liked it
How can I resist a book with schematic plans reflecting changes over time to the downtown intersection bracketing the story? =) Edgerton writes well about the internal workings of his character and their interactions with their place.
Cute little book that takes you back in time to small town America. Gives you snippets of many different characters....and what happens when a bad guy comes to town.
Dec 26, 2010 Michelle marked it as to-read
Community viewpoint arrived at via individual tellers of the tale of the town of Listre, NC, summer 1950s. Rec. in Honey
Jun 04, 2009 Margaret rated it liked it
Pretty an odd sort of way. It's a snapshot of a small town, visited by a stranger with some dishonorable intentions.
Jul 30, 2008 Julie rated it it was ok
Not my favorite Clyde Edgerton book. I am a Big fan of Lunch at the Picadilly and Walking Across Egypt.
Jan 04, 2008 David rated it really liked it
Chilling novel about that has echoes of Flannery's treatment of the South
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 26 27 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • From Death to Morning
  • Red Grass River: A Legend
  • Thirteen Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey
  • Justice at Nuremberg
  • Invisible Eden
  • Green River Rising
  • A False Sense of Well Being
  • Waking
  • At Home for the Holidays
  • The Valachi Papers (aka The Canary That Sang)
  • Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk-tales from the Gulf States
  • Helen Hath No Fury (Amanda Pepper, #10)
  • The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Svejk During the World War, Book(s) Three & Four
  • Sleeping at the Starlite Motel: and Other Adventures on the Way Back Home
  • Prince Edward
  • The Last Joy (Green Integer Books)
  • Texasville
  • Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II
Clyde Edgerton is widely considered one of the premier novelists working in the Southern tradition today, often compared with such masters as Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor.

Although most of his books deal with adult concerns--marriage, aging, birth and death--Edgerton's work is most profoundly about family. In books such as Raney, Walking Across Egypt, The Floatplane Notebooks, and Killer Dill
More about Clyde Edgerton...

Share This Book