cover image The Backwoods

The Backwoods

Edward Lee, . . Cemetery Dance, $40 (271pp) ISBN 978-1-58767-121-0

At the start of Lee's peculiar and uneasily convincing mix of sex and violence, 40-ish D.C. lawyer Patricia White temporarily leaves her successful practice and her loving husband to console her sister, Judy, after the grisly murder of Judy's brutish husband, Dwayne. Judy lives in Agan's Point, a boondocks Chesapeake Bay town where the sisters grew up. There Patricia relives unhappy memories of her rape years earlier by an unknown assailant and feels unexpected and intense sexual longings for a childhood friend who never left the Point. Eerie and insular squatters and an unscrupulous land developer anxious to eliminate the squatters contribute to the growing mayhem. Lee (City Infernal ) throws in some overly convenient supernaturalism toward the end, but if you're still reading by that point, it's a fair bet you won't want to put the book down unfinished. (Dec.)