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The Devil Takes One

and other stories
The Devil Takes One Cover Front.jpg
Book Info
about the book

In Dennis Chandler’s new work of fiction, fifteen stories are set against a shifting economic landscape in the rural Midwest. In each, the protagonist is after something—money, status, equilibrium, redemption. But as most discover in the homestretch, their endgame goal isn’t so easy to come by...

Included in the collection:

· Young fans of a cult film provide an unexpected second chance to an aging actor barely scraping by while living with his ex-wife in a dilapidated church.

· A game warden orchestrates a showdown with local poachers, using that spark of adversity to push back the depression that stalks him.

· An arrogant social worker is demoted from a cushy city job to a position in a small town, where he bullies his welfare clients until falling on hard times himself.

· A Hollywood filmmaker is faced with an old mystery and becomes entangled in a present day conflict when she visits Wisconsin to honor a request by her elderly father.

· A fisherman rescued from a violent storm by strangers is pulled into a backwoods birthday party where he has a life-changing epiphany.

The Devil Takes One Cover Front.jpg
about the author
Dennis - B&W cropped photo.jpg

The son of a career navy man, Dennis Chandler moved from coast to coast until settling in rural Wisconsin at the age of twelve, where he took full advantage of every available outdoor opportunity the area had to offer. 


After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison during the turbulent years of the Vietnam War, he drifted away from a planned future in academia but not from his passion for writing.

So instead of becoming a teacher, Dennis became a self-employed carpenter, letting the work carry him from Wisconsin to California, Montana, Mexico, and Japan - then back again to Wisconsin.


He kept his "hand in the game" by writing during the stretched-out months of deep winter when carpentry work slowed to a trickle. Journals were filled with notes from travel and projects, and those notes became stories - both fiction and non-fiction.

His stories have appeared in Journal from the Heartland: Wisconsin (2017) and Journal from the Heartland: Close to Home (2018) both from Blue Bus Publishing.

Dennis currently lives with his longtime partner Gayle in a house he designed and built on forty acres near Blue Mounds, Wisconsin.


enjoy a story from the book
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Red Clay

Finding his professional life unsustainable, a school psychologist seeks refuge on the remote south shore of the largest freshwater lake in the world.

(Click the arrows or dots to move through pages.)



The cover of The Devil Takes One and Other Stories depicts author Dennis Chandler kicking back on the porch at his home near Blue Mounds - a bottle of whiskey at his side as he gazes out over a vast expanse of trees and rolling hills.

It's an apt image for this self-published collection of 15 moody stories set in rural Wisconsin. The pieces are linked by characters trapped in the bleakness of small-town living, the hollowness of splintered families and the uncertain poignancy of aging. Heavy on exposition and ripe with ethereal details...they take readers far from where they begin before reaching a final destination, and some might even require a rewarding second reading to better illuminate characters' motivations and appreciate Chandler's narrative nuances.   Read more...

'The Devil Takes One' in Chandler's literary debut  by Matt Geiger for Mount Horeb Mail, January 2020


It's almost easier to believe Dennis Chandler made a deal with the devil than it is to believe what really happened.

In my experience, a young man does not enroll at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with hopes of becoming a writer, only to get sidetracked, live another unpublished life for 50 years, then reemerge as the author of a terrific new book.     Read more...

Chandler's stories fall squarely into the category of literary fiction. They are carefully crafted, but the author hopes they are authentic and true to the untidy nature of life. He tried to create stories not tethered to a specific time. The terrain is vast, ranging from the psychedelic revival to fishing and trapping.

Chandler's influences are eclectic, but he is drawn to hard boiled high literature; authors including Cormac McCarthy and William Gay. "For me, it's really not about the themes," he says. "It's about the quality of the writing."

Book Release Reception:  November 2019

 A Place To Be, 911 Williamson Street, Madison WI


Chippewa River, Wisconsin

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