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THE HUM AND THE SHIVER by Alex Bledsoe Kirkus Star


by Alex Bledsoe

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2744-4
Publisher: Tor

Distinctive variation on the elves-among-us theme, from the author of Dark Jenny (2011, etc.).

In Cloud County, in the mountains of east Tennessee, dwell the Tufa, a dark-haired, dark-skinned folk already in residence when the first Europeans arrived. Consummate musicians, with songs passed from generation to generation, they are also rumored to have unearthly powers. Private Bronwyn Hyatt, "the Bronwynator," a war hero and First Daughter of the Tufa, was shipped back from Iraq with a smashed leg and shoulder, although she knows these will rapidly heal. Unfortunately her injuries have cost her the ability to play or sing. An eerie “haint,” the ghost of a fellow-soldier, followed her home from the war with a particular message to impart, while horrid omens of death swirl around her mother, Chloe—who must pass to Bronwyn a particular song before she dies. Then again, arrogant, brutal ex-boyfriend Dwayne Gitterman, a Tufa who rejected his roots and partly was the cause of her fleeing to join the army, is, most unwelcomingly, still hanging around. For some reason she's powerfully attracted to young non-Tufa preacher Craig Chess, who vainly attempts to induce the politely indifferent Tufa to visit his church. Reporter Don Swayback, having lost all interest in his job but tasked with interviewing Bronwyn, learns he's part Tufa. Lurking on the back roads to snare the innocent and unwary is thuggish state trooper Robert Pafford. And what of Rockhouse Hicks, a supremely nasty old man who seems to do nothing except hang around outside the post office? This powerful, character-driven drama, set forth in superbly lucid prose, occurs against an utterly convincing backdrop and owns complications enough to keep everybody compulsively turning the pages.

A sheer delight.