Dark of the Moon

Janice Daugharty, Author, Jane Howle, Editor
Janice Daugharty, Author, Jane Howle, Editor Baskerville Publishers $19 (275p) ISBN 978-1-880909-17-1
Hardcover - 275 pages - 978-0-06-017177-3
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-097655-2
Paperback - 228 pages - 978-1-61194-163-0
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In a strong, sometimes poetic voice, Daugharty's first novel deals with the harsh, joyless life of a contemporary Georgia flatwoods midwife. Married to the brutal, much older moonshiner Hamp, Merdie Lee sneaks off weekly to sing country music with her teenage sons Bo Dink, Israel and Little Noah. Hamp's kidnapping of a revenue agent named Mac brings danger and change into her life; as she guards and tends Mac, Merdie's views are altered, and she and he become lovers. Though Hamp may kill him, Mac cannot leave Merdie with her ignorant, cruel husband. When a venal sheriff tries to blackmail Hamp because his two sons from a previous marriage are selling drugs, he sinks into a deranged, dangerous state. Then Mac tells Hamp he isn't a revenuer in search of illicit stills, but an FBI agent after the sheriff. In spite of a few loose ends, the tale comes to a fine conclusion as Merdie resolves a conflict. Filled with tension and drama, memorable for its colorful local characters and two likable protagonists, this is a promising debut. A collection of Daugharty's short stories will appear in the fall from Ontario Review Press. (Mar.)
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