Friday, December 23, 2016


Steph Post's debut novel is a solid piece of southern crime focusing on a solitary mechanic who travels back home to Crystal Springs, Florida after his mom sends him a postcard with news that his father blew himself up in a tangerine grove. James gets there too late for his dad's funeral, but just in time to try to help his younger brother Rabbit get out of some trouble with the Alligator Mafia following one of Rabbit's latest schemes.

It's southern grit that's less about James and company blasting away with guns and more about him coming to terms with the strained relationship with his family and the self-imposed exile from his childhood home (although the gun blasting scenes are pretty well written). James is a man that's shut himself away emotionally due to his regret of his criminal past and his failure to follow his dreams, but his trip back home forces him to confront it all.

Post's work here feels similar to Walter Mosley, in the sincere and tactful way that she allows sensitivity, sentiment, and anxiety to find it's way into her tough hero. I love the way she portrayed his attraction to Marlena, the local bar owner, and I love that she avoided the usual played-out, courtship tropes that you see in many novels these days.
They traded demons and devils as the electricity and the atmosphere brawled above them, the fistfight in the sky mirroring the struggle their hearts were playing out, blow by blow. 
I enjoyed this and wanted to get to it before reading Steph's second novel, Lightwood, which comes out next month.


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