When you think of Southern Fiction what comes to your mind? To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone With The Wind, A Time to Kill, and All Over But the Shoutin’ are just a few of the titles, many of which were adapted for film.
Southern Literature as a genre has been with us for well over 175 years but in recent years we have seen several well written authors taking up their pens to depict a South plagued with problems. These stories still draw many readers, even if only for the familiar surroundings.
Numerous websites such as BookRiot.com, have published reading lists for readers looking to read more of this fictional genre. Below is a review of one such, the recent novel by Brian Panowich. It won the 2016 Thriller Award for Best First Novel, presented by the International Thriller Writers organization.
Bull Mountain delves into the mysteries and life styles of a Southern town. It is a place where characters abound and suspense creeps along the pages, ending in a way that may well surprise you. In this gripping, hard edged tale of murder, abuse, drugs, and alcohol, you meet the Burroughs family, a clan that traffics in drug and moonshine. While running the roads of Georgia, the Burroughs cross paths with the motorcycle gang known as the “Jacksonville Jackals.”
The morning is cool in Bull Mountain, Georgia as three men, a young man, his father and his uncle, step into the woods hunting for deer. It will be the young man’s first deer. The father instructs his son to take a shot as the deer comes within sight. A loud shot rings out. The deer falls. At that same instant, the young man/boy hears another shot next to him. As he looks towards the other two, he sees his uncle unmoving, lying on the ground. “Deddy” had taken deliberate aim at his brother for own form of justice/revenge.
Even though his genealogy has past ties to trafficking crimes, Clayton is the one member of the Burroughs clan that has decided to sit on the right side of the law. Wanting to curtail the illegal business of drug and alcohol trafficking in his home town, he becomes the town sheriff. But trouble comes for Clayton and his family in the form of a revenuer, Special Agent Simon Holly from the A.T.F. (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms). Agent Holly wants to see Clayton in regards to his older brother who is running drugs all around the Bull Mountain community. In order to protect his family Clayton will now have to stop looking the other way, putting an end to the trafficking trade in his both his town and Jacksonville.
There is a great deal going in this tale, digging into the choices people make out of loyalty and family ties. The author shows the determination and grit of those behind the trafficking drugs and moonshine, and that of the gangs in competition. Alternating chapters, between past and present, as well as shifting between Sherriff Clayton and Agent Holly as narrator, you are kept on the edge of your seat.
Formats Available: Audiobook, e-Book, Large Type, Regular Type
Reviewed by Micah, Shawnee Branch