Wednesday, January 11, 2017

CBR9 #2 - Southern Gods

I've had Southern Gods on my TBR list for so long I no longer remember why I put it there. Was it a recommendation from Amazon? From Goodreads? Did someone I know recommend it? Did it cross my path as a "If you liked __________ then you'll like this too!"

Maybe I heard it through the grapevine?

I only know that recently, I happened to come across it on my wishlist and decided to go ahead and splurge on it.

I'm glad I did.

In 1951 Memphis, war veteran and leg-breaker-for-hire Bull Ingraham gets a new assignment: a record company has lost one of their employees somewhere. Early Freeman set off to deliver new records to radio stations, and has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. His boss at Helios Records is anxious to find him...and also anxious to find a mysterious blues musician whose music can do terrible things to the living -- and to the dead.

Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Sarah Rheinhart leaves her abusive husband and returns to her family home, where she hopes to recover, surrounded by her young daughter, her invalid mother, and her Uncle Gregor's books.

Both of these characters find themselves caught up in something that will shake their entire lives to the core, and rewrite everything they thought they knew about the world, drawing them together in the face of an ancient and immortal evil.

I liked this book a lot -- the plot was tightly wound, bouncing back and forth between Bull and Sarah's perspectives. While I preferred Bull, Sarah was a smart woman, though not particularly tough. Bull more reminded me of Russell Crowe's character in LA Confidential -- a tough guy who spends the majority of his time solving problems with his brawn, but isn't incapable of  using his brain, too. The story itself is, as some have said, a bit Lovecraft-meets-Faulkner, though it manages to mostly avoid the pitfalls of both. The descriptions are lush, and I found I really enjoyed the writing style.

On the whole, I'd recommend this to other horror fans -- it's pretty graphically gory in some places, so it's not for the faint-of-heart. Still, it's a good story written well.

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