First published in 1986, T.R. Pearson's second novel, "Off for the Sweet Hereafter, " fulfilled the promise of his first, "A Short History of a Small Place," returning once more to the mythic environs of Neely, North Carolina, and to the madcap antics of its odd but endearing inhabitants. If "A Short History" delved deeply and hilariously into the burdens of family legacy in a small Southern town where sanity is a scarce community, "Off for the Sweet Hereafter" is a rollicking adventure, a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde story about two passionate but star-crossed lovers, Raeford Benton Lynch and Jane Elizabeth Firesheets. Together they cut a wide swath of mayhem and murder before their number comes up in a bloody blaze of glory.