SON OF PERDITION by William  Harms


Email this review


In the wake of the Civil War, a former Southern sheriff reluctantly chases a man bent on vicious, bloody retribution.

In Harms’ (Infamous Vol. 1, 2011) historical novel, Samuel Glazer is a man seeking revenge. He has a list of eight members of Bloody Bill’s gang, which rampaged through Missouri during the Civil War. Glazer’s wave of vengeance takes place in a South that has been decimated by the conflict; entire towns are ravaged, and people are scrounging to feed themselves. After the ruthless deaths of Harold Camp’s wife and son, Oliver Hansford, a wealthy man in Whitwell, Tennessee, forces Lee Sinclair, the ex-sheriff, to track down the murderer with two associates. Despite the misgivings of his wife, Kate, and his own doubts, Lee sets off with Eli and Bobby to hunt for the killer. Back in town, Kate is trying to survive with their son, Jeremiah, while fending off the advances of Hansford. On his journey, Glazer saves a black freeman named Joseph from being lynched and tries to protect him. After several encounters on the road, Lee realizes that Eli and Bobby are barbarous murderers and that he is not supposed to survive this operation. The three searchers are keen on the heels of Glazer as he systematically finds and kills his targets and their families through stakeouts and deceptions. The book succeeds in making the opposing characters of Glazer and Lee into compelling adversaries. While Glazer’s mission is definitely merciless, he is driven by his own deep grief and sense of justice; Lee is simply a man with a moral code who wants to return to his family. Readers will dread the inevitable showdown between the two adversaries. Hansford, Eli, and Bobby make excellent villains in the tale, set against the backdrop of the misery and suffering after the war. The novel doesn’t pull any punches about racism and the cruelty against blacks. The ending is sharp and sudden, somewhat at odds with the slower nature of the rest of the story.

A gripping, brutal tale of revenge and devastation.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-692-18456-1
Page count: 216pp
Publisher: Leviathan Books
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2019


FictionTHE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead
by Colson Whitehead
FictionFALLEN LAND by Taylor Brown
by Taylor Brown
FictionTHE SISTERS BROTHERS by Patrick deWitt
by Patrick deWitt