Wednesday, 25 March 2020

#BlogTour Blackwood by Michael Farris Smith

Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Blackwood by Michael Farris Smith.
About the Author
Michael Farris Smith is the author of Blackwood (2020), The Fighter, Desperation Road, Rivers, and The Hands of Strangers. His novels have appeared on Best of the Year lists with Esquire, Southern Living, Book Riot, and numerous others, and have been named Indie Next, Barnes & Noble Discover, and Amazon Best of the Month selections. His essays have appeared with The New York Times, Bitter Southerner, Writer’s Bone, and more. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and daughters.

Follow @michael_f_smith on Twitteron Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit michaelfarrissmith.comBuy Blackwood

About the book
In this timeless, mythical tale of unforgiving justice and elusive grace, rural Mississippi townsfolk shoulder the pain of generations as something dangerous lurks in the enigmatic kudzu of the woods.

The town of Red Bluff, Mississippi, has seen better days, though those who've held on have little memory of when that was. Myer, the county's aged, sardonic lawman, still thinks it can prove itself -- when confronted by a strange family of drifters, the sheriff believes that the people of Red Bluff can be accepting, rational, even good.

The opposite is true: this is a landscape of fear and ghosts -- of regret and violence -- transformed by the kudzu vines that have enveloped the hills around it, swallowing homes, cars, rivers, and hiding a terrible secret deeper still.

Colburn, a junkyard sculptor who's returned to Red Bluff, knows this pain all too well, though he too is willing to hope for more when he meets and falls in love with Celia, the local bar owner. The Deep South gives these noble, broken, and driven folks the gift of human connection while bestowing upon them the crippling weight of generations. With broken histories and vagabond hearts, the townsfolk wrestle with the evil in the woods -- and the wickedness that lurks in each and every one of us.
This story is driven in various directions with a rural Mississippi town and its people in the midst of it all. Townspeople that live off the myths, the gossip and the paranoia of the darkness that consumes their town and the surrounding area.

The drifter family who wander in and play a pivotal part in the story are perhaps the most interesting, because the author never deems it necessary to name them, almost as if a name makes them real and gives them a better hold in the events that happen. It's just the woman, the man and the boy.

Then there is Colburn, a man who has never truly been able to escape the darkness and pain of his childhood. Is coming back a way to face his inner demons and guilt head on?

It's hard to pin this down, perhaps because it mixes multiple darker genres together. It has a noirish vibe, often the charm of a Southern gothic, but ultimately for me this was bordering on horror. No matter how much it had a pinky inclined tea-drinking feel to it - it always came back to creepy, mysterious and disturbing. A kind of Twin Peaksesque sense of plotting, which is thrown into disarray with the reality of things that go bump in the night.  The horror behind the mask of small town normality.

I think it's fairly easy to visualise where the author was going with the story, but in all fairness I can see why some readers might feel as if they aren't being given enough information. The kind of story that works well with imagery, as opposed to many words. It's appears to be a style thing. The author wants images to override the words. Feel the clinging darkness of the kudzu, the claustrophobic nature of the wet earth in the dank oppressive cave.

Buy Blackwood at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; pub date 19 Mar. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

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