For more than three decades of writing about Texas, Jan Reid has reported topics and perspectives that are unsentimental and often unexpected: stories of cops on the beat, Mexican jailbreaks, counterculture country musicians, an oldtime liberal Texas politician, and cows in the corn at J. Frank Dobie's Paisano Ranch. In the course of that reporting, he has seen and has experienced some close calls—none closer than one in Mexico that threatened his own life. Close Calls collects some of the best of Reid's prolific writings into a volume that provides a uniquely personal crosssection of life—the dangerous and the daily—in Texas. The stories that emerge from these pages show and encourage a hardbiting appreciation for the real Texas and its real people. In Reid's nature pieces, he writes vividly of the rivers, canyonlands, and prairies that enrich our national heritage and of his adventures in the wild, including paddling the Devils River, visiting exotic ranches in South Texas, or dealing with rabid coyotes. In other chapters Reid relates dangers of a different sort, including his addiction to the sport of boxing.
But Close Calls is first a book of people—profiles of Texans rich and poor, famous and downtrodden. Reid provides details of his various assignments and the people and places he has encountered while working for Texas Monthly and other publications—going on beats with Texas police officers, attending church with George Foreman in New York, and meeting Kickapoo Indians in the Sierra Madres.
The book closes with a dramatic account of Reid's hijacking and nearfatal shooting by robbers in Mexico and of the tortuous fight he has waged back to health from his closest call of all.