In this engaging hybrid–part thriller, part ghost story and part socio-political commentary–nothing is what it seems.
Upon arriving in the sleepy swampland town of Deception, Texas, James T. â€œBuck” McDivit discovers that his aunt, an eccentric grande dame, has mysteriously died, leaving everything–her home, lodge and marina situated on Fitzgerald Island–to him. However, certain external forces are attempting to wrest the property from him and long-time residents and caretakers, the Johnson family. The mayor of the town, Hogg Nation, who also happens to own half the county, is set on buying the island. His two thugs, Deacon John and Humpback, ensure that nobody stands in his way. Indeed, it appears that Nation has nearly the entire town under his thumb, including the only judge, Jefferson Travis; the president of the only bank, Clayton Richardson; and what looks like the only lawyer. Buck, who also works as a private investigator, decides to fight for his land and his new friends. With the help of the Johnsons and the frustratingly naÃ¯ve and oblivious Lila (the banker’s daughter), he struggles to find the true cause of his aunt’s death, puts a young girl’s ghost to rest and fights against the raging racism permeating the community. The well-constructed plot has many twists, but several threads begin to unravel at the end. Moreover, certain elements of the plot are so far-fetched that they become implausible and detract from the narrative flow. Nonetheless, the story is replete with numerous cliffhangers and strong, if slightly one-dimensional, characters that propel the protagonist’s formidable journey.
Scooby-Doo meets The Dukes of Hazzard in Wilder’s winning tale.