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Trouble abounds when a young man makes a terrible miscalculation, then pursues the love of his life in an effort to set things right.

Young Jesus has the cards stacked against him. His schizophrenic mother gave him an unusual name and a tragic incident of child abuse has scarred him, both physically and emotionally. The vivacious and hypersexed girl next door, Maddie, has set her sights on Jesus and nothing will dissuade her, not even her ultrareligious mother's fire-and-brimstone warnings about men. But when Jesus says the wrong thing at the wrong time, Maddie takes off, setting in motion a catastrophic chain of events. After she leaves Jesus, Maddie finds herself in the wrong neighborhood of Cottondale. Her naive head is turned by George, a narcissistic sociopath living large on the wrong side of the law, doing others' dirty work and delivering unsuspecting victims to a sadistic albino hermaphroditic serial killer known as The Sole Taker, who lives alone in an isolated mansion. George grabs Maddie and sells her to a prostitution ring. Meanwhile, Jesus tries to find her with the assistance of a motley crew of friends, including a well-meaning barkeeper and her sexually precocious daughter, a pair of prostitutes with hearts of gold and a biker-cum-older brother figure. As Maddie and Jesus work their way back to each other and inadvertently ever closer to The Sole Taker, the themes of love, family and forgiveness are explored with jazzy prose and gorgeous examples of metaphor. Leverett sets a few disturbingly graphic scenes that include violence, sex and child abuse amidst a vivid and dynamic cast of characters with big personalities involved in a satisfying crime tale, À la Pulp Fiction. The star-crossed lovers at the center of the plot are highlighted against a gritty story about the dark side of Cottondale. Although infused with a generous dose of black humor, this tale is, at its heart, strikingly sentimental.

A young man's trip to hell and back for true love, told with a quirky combination of brutality and charm.

Pub Date: July 28th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1432729561
Program: Kirkus Indie
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