A DARK AND BLOODY GROUND by Darcy O’Brien

A DARK AND BLOODY GROUND

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Hillbilly sociopaths rip off a miserly old doctor and kill his daughter: another first-rate--and lurid--true-crime chronicle from journalist/novelist O'Brien (Margaret in Hollywood, 1991; Murder in Little Egypt, 1990, etc.). The part of Kentucky that skirts West Virginia and Tennessee is, O'Brien says, a region of poverty, bluegrass, and country soul, where crime--even murder--is a major activity. Here, he focuses on the ten-year criminal career of two of the region's inhabitants- -former prison-guard Sherry Sheets Pelfrey Wong Hodge and her husband, lifetime criminal Benny Hodge--who, in 1985, formed part of a gang that stole a local doctor's hoard of nearly $2 million cash, killing his daughter in the process. In O'Brien's expert hands, the slow, handsome, enormously powerful Benny and his tough- minded, quick-thinking, coolheaded wife are totally believable, even sympathetic, products of lives impoverished at every level. Also fascinating are the Hodges' lawyer, Lester Burns--who, already rich but unable to resist accepting a fee in money he knew was stolen, bragged about his illicit payoff to an undercover FBI agent; the classically corrupt sheriff, who hired Hodge (as a cook) and then sought to blackmail him into various crimes; car-crazy middle-class sleaze Roger Epperson, perfectly qualified to be the brains behind the heist--he'd already been involved in the murder of his father's best friend; and police lieutenant Danny Webb, who tracked the gang down with the help of a fingerprint on an attachÇ case they'd left behind. The smell of wet, coal-laden earth, white lightening, and cocaine-driven sweat rises from these marvelously atmospheric--and compelling--pages. (Eight pages of b&w photographs) (TV rights to ABC)

Pub Date: April 28th, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-017958-9
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1993




MORE BY DARCY O’BRIEN

NonfictionTHE HIDDEN POPE by Darcy O’Brien
by Darcy O’Brien
NonfictionPOWER TO HURT by Darcy O’Brien
by Darcy O’Brien