Friday, January 13, 2017

LIGHTWOOD by Steph Post

When I read the plot for this upcoming novel by Steph Post, I was a little disappointed as it seemed very similar to her last novel, A Tree Born Crooked, and I was worried that it would simply be a rehash of the same ideas. But although there are similarities, where we follow a man returning to his small-town Florida home after time away, kindling a romantic flame and reluctantly reuniting with family knowing that it will only bring trouble, ultimately this book felt like a totally different beast and was even better than the first book in every way.

After getting released from the slammer after three years, Judah Cannon returns home, consummates his love for childhood friend Ramey, and is set on starting over on his own. But he feels like he has no choice but to help his outlaw family on one last robbery, leading to a nasty web of violence between his father Sherwood, his brothers Levi and Benji, a two-bit biker gang, and an intimidating fire-and-brimstone preacher named Sister Tulah.

And while there are some similar themes,  A Tree Born Crooked is about a man accepting the fact that he can't escape family, and Lightwood is ultimately about Judah rejecting family. And while I enjoyed the first book, I felt like Post really stepped up the writing in this one, not only keeping a great pace, but also drawing vivid imagery and skillfully juggling multiple points of view. It was also pretty cool to see how she ratcheted up the tension as all of the players in the novel begin to converge. One of the most interesting things about the novel was also how each character underestimates everyone else, whether it's the Scorpions underestimating Sister Tulah, or Tulah underestimating the Cannons, or everyone underestimating Judah, it's a cool underlining theme and makes for some great drama.

If you're a fan of southern grit, check out Steph Post's work, especially this book.


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