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DIXIE NOIR by Kirk Curnutt Kirkus Star


by Kirk Curnutt

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59414-821-7
Publisher: Five Star

A disgraced gridiron star emerges from ten years in prison for a final showdown with the man he shot.

Everyone in football-mad Alabama hates Ennis Skinner. Booted as quarterback of the Crimson Tide after telling a TV reporter he used cocaine, he spent a decade at the Kilby Correctional Facility after gut-shooting meth manufacturer High C, whom he blamed for the death of his girlfriend and fellow addict Faye James. Ennis has been paroled, but it looks as if his whole life is about to repeat itself. C, now a publisher who sells counterculture manuals on the Internet, demands that Ennis discharge his debt by finding Faye’s missing 19-year-old daughter Dixie, who’s not exactly retarded but none too quick either. The search plunges Ennis and Red, the comely bartender he’s hooked up with, into the middle of a racially charged race for mayor of Montgomery. Both the incumbent, Amory Justice, and his challenger, former Freedom Rider Walk Compson, are well-stocked with highly combustible ammunition; the death of Dixie’s grandfather, apparently of autoerotic asphyxia, provides the match that sets the whole town aflame. To dramatize the final confrontation between Ennis and C, Curnutt (Breathing Out the Ghost, 2008) uses flash-forwards that may seem to give too much away, but he still keeps plenty of shocking revelations.

Jim Thompson in the Deep South. Proof that noir will never die, which is more than you can say for the cast.