Priddy, Laurance L. 1941-
PRIDDY, Laurance L. 1941-
PERSONAL: Born January 14, 1941, in Sweetwater, TX; son of Lawrence (a coach and teacher) and Ruth (a teacher; maiden name, Lannen) Priddy; married, November 22, 1966; wife's name Kim (a homemaker); children: Jane Kim Priddy Mathes, Thomas Laurance. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Arlington State College (now University of Texas at Arlington), B.A., 1963; University of Texas, J.D., 1966. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Methodist. Hobbies and other interests: Amateur radio, blues and country music.
ADDRESSES: Home—P.O. Box 882, Aledo, TX76008. Office—Advocacy, Inc., 1420 W. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, TX 75247. E-mail—[email protected] com.
MEMBER: American Board of Trial Advocates, State Bar of Texas.
Winning Passion (novel), Sunstone Press (Santa Fe, NM), 1994.
Son of Durango (novel) Sunstone Press (Santa Fe, NM), 1996.
Critical Evidence (novel), Sunstone Press (Santa Fe, NM), 2002.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Collections of short stories.
SIDELIGHTS: By profession, Laurance L. Priddy is an attorney who works with an organization called Advocacy, Incorporated, which represents mentally and physically disabled clients. In his spare time, he moonlights as a novelist and mines the multicultural aspects of his home state of Texas as background for his works. Winning Passion, Priddy's first novel, concerns high school football coach Bobby Thompson, who eagerly assumes his new job in Comanche Springs, Texas, and succeeds in getting his team in contention for the championship. His professional success, however, comes at the expense of his marriage; his wife leaves him after he ignores her desire to return to law school. He encounters further obstacles when racism, corruption, and greed turn out to be thriving forces in the tight-knit community where he teaches. Finally, he is accused of misconduct and his job is jeopardized, a circumstance that parallels that of the former coach, whose situation Thompson begins to investigate. Though a reviewer for Publishers Weekly took issue with the book's "awkward" plot, the writer credited some scenes as having "an easy authenticity." Booklist reviewer Melanie Duncan called Winning Passion "an excellent read."
Priddy's second novel, Son of Durango, is the story of Jesus Camacho, who illegally immigrates to Texas from the Mexican state of Durango in hopes of finding a better life for himself. He also wants to find his brother Miguel. Jesus is guided by his romantic and mystical visions of the Virgin of Guadalupe, but he finds life in the United States discouraging. He manages to find work at a building company and fall in love with the foreman's daughter. He saves his money for a wedding, but when he finds Miguel, he learns that an industrial accident has left him permanently injured. Jesus begins running drugs to help finance the wedding and his brother's medical expenses. The book received good reviews. A writer for Publishers Weekly approved of Priddy's compassionate depiction of Mexican immigrants and said that the author "builds narrative tension adeptly." Ernestine Sewell Linck of Review of Texas Books called Son of Durango "suspenseful, tragic, passionate—and thoughtful."
Jim McSpadden is the hero of Critical Evidence. McSpadden is a personal injury lawyer who begrudgingly accepts a case in which he must prove that a mechanical defect rather than a drunken truck driver was the cause of a fatal truck accident. His client is Laura Marcus, widow of the dead truck driver, and in researching the case, McSpadden spars with his nemesis, fellow attorney Rolly Sullivan, who represents the accident's other victims. Along the way, McSpadden implicates himself in a case of industrial espionage and finds his life on the line. Mary Frances Wilkens of Booklist praised Critical Evidence for its "high energy courtroom scenes" and its "cunning legal manipulations."
Priddy once told CA: "My belief that good novels are windows, through which we see beyond ourselves, has led me for the past twelve or fifteen years to come home from my work as a lawyer and spend several hours a night, several nights a week, writing fiction. My first novel, Winning Passion, explores the doubts and insecurity of a young football coach as he confronts racism and corruption in a small-town Texas high school.
"Because I believe that racism continues to threaten the American dream, it is a recurring theme in my novels. My books, however, are not primarily about race relations. They are about men and women confronting the frustrations of the human condition in the Texas of today."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 1993, Melanie Duncan, review of Winning Passion, p. 603; May 15, 2002, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of Critical Evidence, p. 1579.
Publishers Weekly, November 22, 1993, review of Winning Passion, p. 60; April 15, 1996, review of Son of Durango, p. 52.
Review of Texas Books, fall, 1997, Ernestine Sewell Linck, review of Son of Durango.
Novels of Texas and the Southwest by Laurance L. Priddy,http://www.LPriddy.com/ (September 9, 2003).