This Acid Western novelette, a collaboration between writer Jardine Libaire and artist Denise Prince, takes place on a seemingly never-ending night in 1983 and stars 25-year-old Corbelle, a goth loner from NYC with a fruitbat tattoo, a mullet, and dominatrix boots. An outsider anywhere she goes, Corbelle arrives in West Texas to collect an inheritance from an unknown aunt, and checks into a grand adobe hotel. Tired, her plan is to eat and sleep, but she runs into another hotel guest, Lois, who is combative, needy, drunk—and vulnerable. When two traveling salesmen, Clyde and Willer, get on Lois’s scent, Corbelle falls into being her protector. Over the hours, murder ballads play on the jukebox—Corbelle never heard these lurid country songs before—and by the next morning, wishes she could un-hear them.

With a nod to country stars Porter Wagoner, Tanya Tucker, and Eddie Noack, to spaghetti westerns, to punk-goth 1980s feminism, A Lesson in Murder Ballads is a psychedelic Texas storybook, with a noir heart—narratively and visually. The images by Prince fit like secrets into the text, and the characters look out at the reader, their eyes defiant and bizarre and alive. Download the book to see for yourself.

A Lesson In Murder Ballads is a “ghost track” to a new Jardine Libaire novel, Peach.

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Photographs copyright © Denise Prince, 2024. All rights reserved.

JARDINE LIBAIRE is a novelist (Here Kitty Kitty, White Fur, You’re An Animal). She also collaborated on the creative nonfiction book Gravity is Stronger Here about a Mississippi family with photographer Phyllis B. Dooney, and with Amanda Eyre Ward on The Sober Lush, essays on alternative hedonism. Libaire co-wrote with director Drake Doremus the film Endings, Beginnings, and she also writes for TV. For years, she facilitated Truth Be Told, a storytelling program in Texas prisons. She lives in Joshua Tree and her work is at

Denise Prince is a California and Austin based, American artist working in photography, performance and film. Influenced by her exposure to critical theory while studying at CalArts in Los Angeles, she is known for her pioneering work in the visual syntax of style photography made with clinical philosopher and psychoanalyst Charles Merward.

Prince’s film and video work has screened at Anthology Film Archive in New York (produced by independent film maverick Cary Woods), the International Zizek Studies Conference, and the LA Fashion Film Festival.

Her photography is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and has been written about in the NY Times,, Artforum, and Filmmaker Magazine. It can be found at