A Southern prison drama with a revenge plot and a sense of thickly textured events that recalls, somewhat crudely, early Robert Penn Warren novels. Rich Clare and her farmboy stud Charles, the high school football star, pass through the zenith of their affair on graduation eve. She senses that Charles' younger brother Farel has scholastic possibilities (he gets a doctorate in 18th-century Lit) that will take him outta the Carolina farm country, but that Charles will always be a lowbrow. So she starts bedding young Farel on the side and gives Charles back his ring. The two lads set out on a hitchhiking trip, and Charles is shot dead by vile, fat Lester Macabee, a psycho who has given them a ride. Lester escapes. Ten years pass with Farel writing to mournful Clare. He gets a job teaching English to prisoners at North Florida state prison. One day Lester is brought in as a new prisoner, and Farel gets himself involved with some blacks, including a mass murderer, who will kill Lester for him if Farel will help them escape during a performance of Genet's The Blacks, which they are mounting for the inmates. Farel agrees but finds that revenge is sweetest when you do the bloody part yourself, and the climax is a horror of killer's delight. Musky motives and survival choices in Florida's state prisons, with a mess of dialect rendered with the authenticity of a lynx-eared linguist. A first novel with plenty of grab.