Glover’s debut novel delivers an engaging Southern noir tale, in which bad decisions and shocking violence are the norm.
Syd thinks that his girlfriend Marcy has “style”—whether she’s flirting with a hapless older man or shooting a convenience store clerk in the head for disrespecting her. She has too much style for Memphis, Tenn., he says, so he and Marcy decide go to Hollywood where she can become a star. One problem with that plan is that they have no money; another is that a dedicated Memphis detective, Blaine Gunnison, whose powers of deduction rival Sherlock Holmes’, is hot on their trail—and willing to hunt them all the way to the backwoods of Mississippi and beyond. This novel assuredly shifts between the points-of-view of the scheming criminals, the counter-scheming detective and several people who have the misfortune to come between them. The style is notable for its clarity; when one chapter focuses on Syd’s abused, backwoods, nonverbal cousin, Glover doesn’t attempt literary pyrotechnics, but clearly captures her difficulty comprehending the wider world. When the reader doubts Blaine’s seemingly magical detective skills, the author provides an explanation from Blaine’s point of view that clearly lays out his rational technique. The noir cat-and-mouse plot is certainly entertaining, although some readers may find it slow to get started; Blaine, for example, only gets involved in the investigation about a quarter of the way into the book. Occasionally, odd lines or typos may take readers out of the flow of the story. Some may also be troubled by the novel’s violence or its attempts to psychologize its characters, but for others it may recall the dark, uncertain worlds of such writers as Jim Thompson and Flannery O’Connor.
A compelling, if occasionally awkward, crime novel.