“Drawing comparisons to James Dickey’s Deliverance and Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, Brown’s impressive second novel is an intense, solidly written story of family loyalty, Southern traditions, and haunting historic landscapes.”



This is a novel that takes place in the early 1950’s in the mountains of North Carolina.

Rory Docherty is back from the Korean War where he lost a leg. He is now employed by a man named Eustace who is the biggest bootlegger on Howl Mountain and he controls the entire area. Rory is a delivery driver and he is one of the best. He got the job because his grandmother, who he lives with, has a close relationship with Eustace. Rory’s mom is locked away in a mental asylum. She has been there since her husband was murdered in front of her eyes. Granny used to be a prostitute, so she is tough in the ways of life. She is also a backwoods healer. People come to her for cures to many ailments and she has a solid reputation in that area.

As will happen in this business there are rivals, and their are other young thugs looking for trouble and they have their eyes set on Rory. The Feds are trying to stop the business, and the local sheriff plays both sides of the fence. And to,top,it all off, there is the mystery as to who killed Rory’s dad.

There are some clues, the main one a missing eye that was ripped from one of the attackers eyes that is supposedly kept hidden by granny. The back story about Roy’s mom are told in between each chapter in one page increments and eventually all will start to come together.

This book reads like the Thunder Road film. It is well written, full of surprises and the tension slowly builds to an exciting ending. This book is probably the best book I have read so far this year.

Highly recommended.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 17th May 2018

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Richard Franco