Sunday, June 11, 2017

Review: Strangers in My Bed

Strangers in My Bed Strangers in My Bed by Allen O'Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good example of rural swamp noir, and a solid coming-of-age story, as kindly brother Willie tries to pick up the pieces when bad brother Elroy comes home from college and creates a unholy mess of everything. Although the title and cover blurbs promise some sleaze the book is not nearly as salacious, consisting of horny hillbillies talking about sex in metaphorical terms with no gratuitous or graphical depictions. The books touches on the discrimination of urban Southerners against the uneducated backwater folks, and some pretty disturbing examples of racism in the Deep South. A talented writer, Mr. O'Quinn wrote three backwoods/swamp novels for Gold Medal and then disappeared.

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Review: Saddle the Storm

Saddle the Storm Saddle the Storm by Harry Whittington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An ambitious novel that follows three main narratives, a young couple in a rocky marriage, a bible-thumping rancher who feels that he has been spurned, and a mentally challenged boy who's actions are an enigma. All of the action takes place during one hot Independence Day celebration in a small Texas town where Whittington effectively expands and merges the narratives into a cohesive story of love, obligation, betrayal, hatred and violence. This may have been Whittingtons attempt to write something more substantial than his excellent genre focused Crime and Western books, his Great American Novel perhaps, and although it looks like a traditional Western it is so very much more. Highly recommended.

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