“TUCUMCARI” MIGHT COME from a Comanche word meaning “to lie in wait for someone or something to approach.” It’s a fitting moniker, we learn in Tucumcari Tonite! A Story of Railroads, Route 66 & the Waning of a Western Town (UNM Press), for the isolated prairie outpost whose fortunes rose and fell with the 20th-century transportation industry. Author David H. Stratton, raised two blocks south of Route 66’s neon district, blends impeccable research with appealing anecdotes to create an absorbing, clear-eyed portrait of Tucumcari’s triumphs and
trials. It’s good enough to make you book a room at the Blue Swallow Motel.