Why the Tree Loves the Ax

Jim Lewis’s WHY THE TREE LOVES THE AX is an intriguing, suspenseful story of Caroline Harrison, a twenty-seven-year-old woman who runs from a failed marriage and unhappy past into a series of accidents that promise first stability, security, and even happiness before ultimately causing her to go on the road again. Lewis, using Caroline as narrator, skillfully weaves revelations of her past with her present to tell the story of a sensitive, complex woman whose response to pain and life’s varied events is to flee.

A car accident brings Caroline to Sugartown, Texas, where she finds work in a retirement home and befriends Billy, a resident. One evening, Caroline gets caught up in a riot and accidentally kills a police officer. She runs off to New York, carrying a box given to her by Billy, and attempts to find her former husband and get some answers. The answers she receives only prove more troubling, and she discovers that she is a fugitive. She heads for the address on the box Billy gave her and finds three men and a boy apparently engaged in some kind of criminal activity in a secluded house in upstate New York. Although she initially fears the men, who turn out to be counterfeiters, she eventually shares in their profit and even has a daughter by one of them. Caroline’s running— and the suspense—never cease until the book’s dramatic climax.