Ashley Blake

As a kid growing up in north Louisiana, I relied on family, friends, and an active imagination to get me through some of the most difficult times. During my parents’ divorce when I was 12-years-old, my younger sister and I were shifted from one relative to another while mom and dad hashed out a living nightmare that affects so many families. Through it all, I found escape through creative writing. Full of nervous energy at that age I was ADHD before ADHD became a nationwide crisis. I battled depression and  ...See more >


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"This hybrid beast of a book proves successful in bringing the past alive and weaving a sinister bedtime story for readers."

Kirkus Reviews


AWARDS, PRESS & INTERESTS

Hometown Cullen, Louisiana

Favorite author James Lee Burke

Favorite book The Neon Rain

Day job Metro Nashville Public Schools Board of Education, Benefits Dept.

Favorite line from a book Here's what happened.

Favorite word Finagle

Unexpected skill or talent Surprisingly good wing man

Passion in life Creating stories people enjoy reading


BOOKS REVIEWED BY KIRKUS:

HISTORICAL FICTION
Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-1-5115-9018-1
Page count: 348pp

A dangerous clan wreaks havoc in post-bellum Louisiana.

Louisiana author Blake (Dark Bayou, 2013, etc.) returns with a convincingly researched tale of confidence betrayed and blood spilled. After the U.S. Army retreats from the Deep South in the wake of the Civil War, clans of vigilantes arise from the ruins of the Confederate Army. Some are peacekeeping, some purely racist, and others, like the West-Kimbrell clan, are entirely murderous. “They hated their fellow stranger with a purity that rivaled most men’s love for a beautiful woman,” Blake writes, proceeding to relate the multifarious misdeeds of a dangerous band of outlaws. The group includes Jackson Lawson (ironically nicknamed “Laws”) Kimbrell, a lethal hypocrite with “a wild soul and mean as a bull”; his philosophical Uncle Dan; and Sunday school teacher John West, who “possessed a disarming gentleman’s charm that misled folks into a false sense of trust.” The gang steals horses, kills children, and removes whole families from history. All of this is relayed to the reader in 1913 by the ancient Caleb “CS” Cole, whose daddy, Wallace Cole, along with countervigilante Jim Maybin, played a major role in the clan’s final chapter. Herein, the tastes and sensations of central Louisiana in the 19th century (and, to some extent, the state today) are revived and relived: the ubiquitous religiosity, the smell of pine and mud, the “squirrel mulligan, sausage gumbo, chicken n’ dumplings and raccoon stew.” This novel is a history lesson. Unfortunately, this can at times get in the way of it being a novel. “Why they did this to their fellow man, I can’t tell you,” CS tells the reader, but the job of a novelist is not merely to question motives but to explore them. The psychology of the gang is never pursued, and this remains a missed opportunity. Still, when read as a lightly fictionalized history, in the tradition of Bruce Duffy’s novels and Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song, this hybrid beast of a book proves successful in bringing the past alive and weaving a sinister bedtime story for readers. 

A historical novel about 19th-century vigilantes that re-creates a lost world as it morally instructs. 

ADDITIONAL WORKS AVAILABLE:

DARK BAYOU
Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Fiction

Down in Beaux River, Louisiana, someone’s after Freddy Tango. After another wild night at his bar, Freddy’s Lounge, he arrives home to find his front door riddled with bullet holes and his windows shattered. His live-in grandfather, Cecil Tango, drunk and angry, a pistol within reach, raves about being attacked by a long-dead outlaw named Percy Yates. Freddy discounts Cecil’s accusations as alcohol-induced delusions. Following that fateful night, Freddy decides to seek justice with the assistance of a couple of biker friends. As he begins fitting together pieces of a sinister puzzle, Freddy realizes there is a kernel of truth to his grandfather’s claims. Someone is looking for Percy Yates’s treasure. And they believe Cecil Tango has it. Up against unseen evils determined to harm his grandfather, Freddy is ill-prepared for the forces out to get them. But he will stop at nothing to uncover the truth and protect his loved ones. Known for his laid-back, personable writing style and complex plotting, Ashley Blake weaves a tale intertwined with a healthy dose of action and suspense where characters are not who they seem and paths often take unexpected turns. From the author of Dear Arial, and The Parent Killer, comes a classic mystery that is sure to entertain.

Published:
ISBN: ISBN-10: 0615618456 ISBN-13
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DEAR ARIAL,
Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Fiction

In Eberville, Louisiana, a widowed mother weeps over the recent death of her son. People are calling the tragedy an accident. Stella Voss, the boy's mother, is screaming murder. When the town's sheriff is unable to prove her suspicions correct, Stella takes matters into her own hands. And support is only a letter away from her mailbox. Rumored to be one of the last of the Moss Hill Witches, Ariel Bordeaux is possibly Stella's answer for revenge. Ariel agrees to Stella's wishes only in exchange for information leading to a shotgun-wielding psychopath who's been mailing her threatening letters from Eberville. Ariel knows she must stop him before he fulfills his evil desires.

Published:
ISBN: ISBN-10: 1425911358 ISBN-13:
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THE PARENT KILLER
Suspense Fiction

Haunted by horrific memories from his abused childhood, the main character finds a notebook of three children bonded together by the stories of their own parent's atrocities to them. Determined to seek revenge on their behalf while they are in temporary hiding from harm, he sets out to violently kill each one of the evil parents.

Published:
ISBN: ISBN-10: 0970698321 ISBN-13:
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