Mountain folk taunt a folklorist by wandering down a corridor of eternity.
Fever Devilin, who reluctantly returned to Blue Mountain, Ga., when his Atlanta university excised his folklore department (A Widow’s Curse, 2007, etc.), is visited one night by a man claiming to have killed his own brother. Not recently, mind you, but in the Civil War era. Many stories later this same man claims to have killed his brother again during World War I. Now he’s back again to have a third go at him. He sprints away before Devilin can grasp either him or his full story. The next Devilin hears of his visitor, Sheriff Skidmore Needle wants Devilin to identify the man’s dead body. The victim, however, turns out not to be the confessed killer, but someone who looks enough like the killer to pass for his brother. Strangely, Hovis Daniels, an old-timer living in a shack on property belonging to the time traveler’s kinfolk, and Devilin’s fiancée Lucinda, a hospital nurse, have also been visited. Thus begins a race through revenant country, in which brothers smite each other, families pass down gold-in-these-hills legends and holding on to prisoners and sanity is complicated by apple brandy moonshine.
Storytelling at its best: a beguiling mystery that’s almost impossible to figure out or put down. And if you’re looking for wit, check out the exchanges between Devilin and his pal Winton Andrews.