Blue Ridge

T. R. Pearson, Author Viking Books $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-670-89269-3
The talented Pearson has moved away from the zany Southern milieu of A Short History of a Small Place and other novels, but his work still resonates with whip-sharp dark humor. In this insightful, sardonic tale of self-discovery and self-deceit, two corpses, one in New York City and one in rural Virginia, send two cousins on separate but parallel quests. Ray Tatum is the new sheriff's deputy in sleepy Hogarth, Va., where some hikers discover a human skeleton, its skull bashed in, on the Appalachian Trail. Investigating the case with the help of a brassy female African-American park ranger named Kit Carson, Ray is forced to come to terms with the collapse of his marriage, his somewhat arid life and the nature of the backwoods town he calls home. Meanwhile, Ray's cousin Paul, an actuary in Roanoke, is summoned to Manhattan to identify what may be the remains of a young man named Troy, the son he never really knew. Paul soon finds himself imperiled in New York's drug underworld and in the thrall of Troy's actress girlfriend and of Giles, the deadly but charismatic criminal who once employed Troy. Both cousins must ultimately attempt the complex calculus of placing values on truth, justice, obligation and human life itself. Pearson writes evocatively of the sometimes cozy, sometimes sinister decadence of fringe communities both North and South, his descriptions enlivened by satirical details and witty editorializing. His suspenseful narrative alternates between the two plots; Ray recounts his tale in a wry omniscient voice, while Paul's first-person account is ruefully self-absorbed and idiosyncratic. These characters may not be as hilariously eccentric as some in Pearson's previous books, but they are equally Dand insidiouslyDmemorable. Author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.