Half of the 20 stories in this sterling collection from Pruitt (What We Reckon) are set in East Texas, “where the pine trees grow taller than some skyscrapers, and brief moments of civilization are punctuated by long chapters of dense thicket,” and the rest in small North Carolina towns. Some don’t fit the crime label, but all are character-driven portraits of a particular turning point for each of their not-always-likable protagonists. Highlights include the title tale, in which Darcy, a woman on the run, finds some surprising traveling companions, who offer her a proactive way to deal with her problems. In “The Hoo-Doo of Sweet Mama Rosa,” Old Poke Billet is the victim of something more sinister than an evil spell. In “The Deplorables,” a pen stolen from the William Faulkner museum points the way to what might bring a kind of security to a harried woman and her family. A masterly storyteller, Pruitt pulls the reader into a world that zings with authenticity and life. Agent: Josh Getzler, HSG Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/03/2018 Release date: 10/16/2018 Genre: Fiction
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