Everyone NEEDS this book. It is that good. I was tense the entire time I was reading it. If a story can provide physical discomfort, you know the writing's great.
This is the last of the three books that I desperately wanted to get my hands on this summer. As with the other two - it did not disappoint me one tiny bit. It gets a gold star from me.
This novel wrenched at my heart. I know this life and I know these people. I lived in Lucedale and Purvis, Mississippi - both very similar to McComb. I have seen boys run out of town for causing unintentional damage to others. I've seen and felt the long standing hate of someone done a family wrong. I've seen and held those early, accidental babies. I thought I had "escaped" those towns because I had a way to physically leave, but this book hits so close to home that I realize in my heart I will never completely be gone from them.
I was so very tense reading this novel. I found that right from the start I really liked Russell. He is a man who made a very poor decision early in life that will affect him forever, change his entire future, but he's not a bad man at all. Therefore the building tension, the feeling of possible doom in the pages just set me on edge the entire way through. I think my jaw still hurts from clenching.
Russell returns to his small town after 11 years in prison. He's done his payment to society, but several people don't see it that way. From the very moment he sets foot off the bus he is reminded again and again that there are still hates and grudges aimed at him and forgiveness is not a given. He is also reminded of all that he personally lost, and who he lost, due to that one day of reckless stupidity.
When his life intersects with a mother and child who desperately need a way out of their own situation, his choices may help them, but they may also complete his own path to ruin.
The prose in this novel is tense and short and whip sharp. It speaks true in the style and cadence of the Deep South. You can feel the emotions fully in the characters, you are able to know them as much as if you were sitting on that bar stool or truck bed with them.
I highly recommend this book.
Read my review of Rivers, Michael's first full length novel, which was just as fabulous as his latest. Click on link here.
Follow link to find Michael at a bookstore near you!
For eleven years the clock has been ticking for Russell Gaines as he sat in Parchman Penitentiary in the Mississippi Delta. His sentence is now up for manslaughter, and he believes his debt has been paid. But when he returns to his South Mississippi hometown, he faces blood-thirsty revenge. Larry and Walt, older brothers of the young man Russell killed so many years ago, have had the calendar marked. They greet Russell the instant he steps off the bus with hard fists and dire promises.
On the same day that Russell comes back, a homeless woman named Maben and her young daughter trudge along the side of the interstate under the punishing summer sun. Desperate and exhausted, the pair spends their last dollar on a room for the night, a night that ends with Maben running down a desolate back road holding a pistol, and a dead deputy sprawled across the asphalt. When Russell later rides up on the scene with the loaded shotgun he's gotten for protection tucked behind the seat of his father's truck, the eyes of the law can't help but look toward him.
Along these dark back roads, lives twisted with regret intersect with violent and vengeful consequences as the differences between right and strong shift like the southern sky. DESPERATION ROAD, written in powerful and lyrical prose, is a story of troubled souls bound by a secret that stretches over the years and across the land.