Southern noir and fast paced grit-lit, Desperation Road is compelling and enduring dark fiction.
Russell returns to a small Mississippi town, fresh off the bus from 11 years in the penitentiary, only to be jumped by the family of the man who put him there. Maben, running from a drug habit and the darker sides of herself, has a bad run in with a local cop. Russell and Maben, two flawed, but decent people. They are at the center of this tight tale of revenge and repentance.
It was difficult to put this book down, so I read it in big hunks, growling at anyone that came near. The characters were sharply drawn, and I count the countryside of Mississippi as one of them. It was easy to see the lakes and ponds of the area, easy to feel the heat and the bite of the mosquitoes. It was also easy to see how the need for revenge could be nurtured in this hot and humid environment.
For 300 pages, this book was an incredibly fast read with characters that had depth to them and a realistic feel. I highly recommend this tense, quick trip to Mississippi. It's so beautifully written, you'll feel as if you were there right now, without the cost of air fare and the ugly realities of this world. There's an ugly reality there too, but at least there I felt as if there was also hope for the future.
Once again, highly recommended! (I think fans of Donald Ray Pollock would especially appreciate this dark tale.)
Desperation Road is available on February 7th, here: Desperation Road
*Thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Book Group for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*