(There is no chapter 9, technically. Chapter 8 is extra long, though.)
In Chapter 7, the villain goes on errands to further his villainy. This chapter could have been dispatched with a paragraph. (“Silvertop bought off what passed for the law in town and placed a call to an old friend.”) Oh, and the love interest is further intimidated.
If I were an editor I would have written PLOT? in large red letters at the end of Chapter 7.
At the end of chapter 7 I thought, ”I KNOW I must have met all the characters by now. I have met them, they have all met each other, and if there are any more I will need an insert like I had for War and Peace.”
In Chapter 8, there is a massive flashback to how the main characters met, and then there’s a flash-forward to present day. I would have spilt the chapter and put the present day narrative in Chapter 9. (I’ve found that it’s important to keep track of if they are in Arkansas or Oklahoma, that seems to mark the time period.)
Strangely, Jerry the journalist is best at writing descriptions of the technicalities of drilling for oil. There is also a page devoted to how to snort coke, clearly written in the eighties before the movies taught us all how to snort coke.
In the last two pages of Chapter 8, we meet ... a new character. A sympathetic plucky character. Thank God for her. I’m calling those two pages Chapter 9.5.