NC Literary Hall of Fame




The Fur, Fish, Flea and Beagle Club by R. M. Byrd

$24.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0615751689
February, 2013
Available from

Shy wise-acre Jamie Garrath goes to work at his father’s sawmill specifically to be with him. But Ned Custis, a strangely quiet boy he barely knows from school, throws a wrench in Jamie's plans when he invades for the summer to work at the mill, too. Jamie feels his idyllic vision of working with his father slipping away.

Work at the mill is hot and brutal, Jamie’s father is too busy to spend time with him and a vicious mill worker tries to kill Toby, his dog. And as if all this trouble wasn’t enough, Jamie meets Deidre, the daughter of an Irish migrant worker, and falls head-over-heels in love.

Ned’s not exactly jumping for joy either. His father pawned him off on the Garraths to get him out from underfoot in the family hardware store. He’s an exile in a strange place he doesn’t want to be, doing things he doesn’t want to do and his work at the mill turns out to be tree scouting in the deep woods with Cyrus, an enigmatic Indian and ex-shaman, who he’s afraid will butcher him with a bush axe. It’s going to be a stressful summer for both of them. As the only two boys in the company of hard working men, Jamie and Ned are driven together for better or for worse, forced to forge a friendship. They form a club of two – or three if you include Toby the dog.

R. M. Byrd lives in North Carolina with his wife and two cats, as well as wild deer, hummingbirds and, appropriately, the odd nuthatch. He has been writing since before he can reliably recall. Though he has great trouble writing short, his short fiction has appeared in the literary journal The Iconoclast, the Best Raleigh Reading collection of The Main Street Rag, and in Offshoots, the literary collection of the Geneva Writers’ Group of Geneva, Switzerland.

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