The Gods of Green County

Mary Elizabeth Pope. Blair, $25.95 (300p) ISBN 978-1-949467-71-0
Pope’s busily plotted tale (after the collection Divining Venus) delves into the long-term effects of a killing in small-town Paradise, Ark. In 1926, Green County Sheriff Wiley Slocum shoots and kills Buddy Harper. Wiley claims he caught Buddy with stolen cash and that the young man threatened him with a crowbar. Buddy’s older sister, Coralee, refuses to believe the charges. While preparing for a preliminary hearing, Wiley’s attorney, Leroy Harrison, notices odd discrepancies in witness testimonies and is especially perplexed by the sudden disappearance of Lorna Lovett, a prostitute and potential witness. Wiley threatens Leroy, prompting him to ignore his misgivings, and Wiley is not charged with any crimes. Twenty years later, Coralee claims she’s seen Buddy around town and gives excessive donations to a church at the expense of her family’s needs. After Coralee almost dies from a poisonous snakebite during a ritual at the church, her husband instigates a sanity hearing. Leroy, now a judge, hears the case, and it stirs up memories of Buddy’s death. When Leroy falls out of Wiley’s favor and loses reelection to the bench, he opens Wiley’s file, launching a private investigation that uncovers long-buried secrets that have heartrending consequences. Smoother plot pacing would have enriched Pope’s story. Yet in Coralee Wilkins, readers will discover an appealingly complex woman. This will keep readers turning the pages. Agent: Ann Collette, Rees Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/13/2021
Release date: 10/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
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