As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by No Exit Press, 19 March 2020.
The people of Red Bluff have given
up fighting the kudzu vines which now form a black wood all round their town,
swallowing fields, trees, farmland, cars and even a house. Now strangers have
come to town, and their sleepy world is going to change.
story begins in 1956, with a young boy, Colburn, killing his father; after
that, we move to 1976 and meet a dysfunctional family in a broken-down car.
Myer, the local policeman, offers them some help, but they refuse it, and the
narrator follows their struggles and disintigration through the novel. The
parallel story is of Colburn, now grown up, returning to the town he can barely
remember. He meets Celia, a local café owner, who tells him that far from being
anonymous, everyone in town remembers who he is. Gradually we’re drawn into the
lives of the characters, all haunted by the past, and given different
perspectives on them. The kudzu is a brooding presence, atmospherically
described, turning from a child’s dream of jungle exploration to nightmare, and
the characters feel like real people. This is an unusual crime novel, more a
novel about the effect crime has on people, but from half way through the book
there is a traditional crime investigation led by Myer.
writing is stream of consciousness style from the point of view of all the key
characters, but goes strangely from chopped-up sentences to several sentences
run together, and I found this rather distracting while reading.
unusual, atmospheric novel about a poverty-stricken family, a man haunted by
murder and a town steeped in the past.
Michael Farris Smithis
the author of Desperation Road
(February 2017), The Fighter (2018), Rivers, and The Hands of Strangers. He is
the recipient of the MLA's Mississippi Author Award for Fiction and the
Transatlantic Review Award for Fiction. Rivers was named to numerous Best of
the Year lists and his short fiction has twice been nominated for a Pushcart
Prize. He lives in Mississippi with his wife and daughters
Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh
and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time
teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two
Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by
history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as
a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys
exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.Marsali also does a regular monthly column
for the Mystery People e-zine.