It's hard to discuss Mr. Chacko's (first) novel without doing it a disservice -- describing it handicaps it still further -- and interpreting it ricochets against the reviewer who will probably be on as uncertain ground as most of the characters who live for the most part in a country of psychopathia all their own. Laminated with violence. On its simplest terms (i.e. story) Dan Price, a bastard, literally, returns to the Ohio farm and land which he has inherited from his uncle Cyrus Price, after killing two men, justifiably, overseas. There he has an intense love affair with Judith Palmer (the Prices and Palmers own this part of the county) whom he describes as ""strong"" (everyone else might find her strength dangerous) and who has a mother with ""fervid eyes -- half madness, half parsimony"" who mutters ""sin begets sin"" before she rounds the bend, joning other members of their family -- particularly a young cousin Beldon who shears the red hair off a girl, stuffs it in a mailbox, and runs around the countryside taking potshots with his tongue hanging out -- also literally -- he has trouble retracting it when he gets excited. Gradually, indirectly, sometimes elliptically, this fills in some old ingrown family history (whom did Cyrus Price father? which of three ladies named A. -- Judith's mother, Dan's mother, or an aunt -- bore his child or children?) and in between Dan, back at the farm, is joined by a group of heads and an old retainer dies on his hands. . . . All of this sounds impossible but Chacko writes with quite some verve and there is that prong of curiosity as well as the rasp of evil.