A gripping, brutal tale of revenge and devastation.

SON OF PERDITION

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. 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-18456-1

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Leviathan Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...

FLY AWAY

Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

THE RESCUE

High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

Did you like this book?

more