Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: Gone South by Robert McCammon

Gone South

Pocket books Paperback

391 pages

Gone South is a part of one of may favorite literary sub-genres. Weird Crime, adding horror or bizarro elements to a crime novel almost always works for me. This is one strange southern gothic crime novel but it is so perfectly with brutal and beautiful moments it is hard for me to imagine anyone not enjoying it.

Opening with an amazing first line… “"It was hell's season, and the air smelled of burning children...." It is the story of Dan Lambert a Vietnam vet who is having a rough go of it. He has leukemia, his wife kicked him out, he can’t find work and now the bank wants to take his truck. He tries to reason with the loan officer and stuff goes well south. He didn’t mean to kill the guy things just got out of control. So he takes off. The bank puts a reward on his head and before long every two-bit bounty hunter in Louisiana is after him.

The characters in this novel are vivid and interesting including A bounty hunter named flint who was recruited out of freak show(he has a third arm, well actually he has a little twin brother he absorbed before birth) and his Elvis impersonator partner.

Well trying to escape Dan has an adventure meets up with a young woman disfigured by a large birthmark and they journey together as she is looking for a healer. Dan doesn’t believe in the healer known as the bright girl but as they travel deeper into the bayou the journey continues to get even stranger.

McCammon is one of my favorite writers and may be the best pure story teller writing genre novels. He gets compared to King, but he is far more consistent than King. He milks the south setting in this book to create a novel that is unsettling , funny and at times charming. Is it McCammon’s best? No and that is the scary thing. Fans of weird crime should not miss this one.

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