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Bad Way Out Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Fun to read and hard to put down this is a great tale of hillbillies and their culture versus the modern drug lord. The characters come to life in all their glorious eccentricities, from a man mad seventeen year old girl to the corrupt reverend. Unfortunately this book will probably get overlooked, which is a shame, as it is such a great read and should appeal to a lot of people.
There are a few typos in this, but nothing that should really detract from or disrupt your reading experience. Certainly original, this is full of violence and humour, and certainly a thing that Quentin Taratino would love to get his hands on.
The author claims in his bio that he’s not smart enough to be subtle. On the strength of this excellent book I have to disagree with him.
The action takes place in Maiden Falls where, as E.R. says, you only end up if you’re lost or hiding. As a result there’s a whole host of fascinating and gritty characters on show.
E.R. spends most of his time making moonshine and selling it to the locals. He has a distant relationship with his wife, Rose, and is estranged from his father. He makes enough money to survive, but life doesn’t change much. Only meth heads cause him any trouble, all supplied by local bad boy, Ford.
But from the first pages E.R.’s life is gradually turned upside down. A girl is found dead, then her teenage sister, Eva, begins to throw herself at E.R. and a huge guy appears in his brewing shed – naked and unconscious.
Then, tired of losing business, Ford’s boss Milo makes E.R. a job offer – sell his drugs. But E.R. doesn’t do drugs and he says no. Unfortunately Milo is somewhat unhinged and undertakes an increasingly vicious campaign against E.R. and then his family. All the while he’s fighting Eva off, strengthening his bond with Rose and investigating the local girl’s murder.
As the pages turned the story became increasingly engaging and enthralling. E.R. narrates the story in first person so the reader receives his hillbilly vernacular and behavior in full flow. It’s done sufficiently well that this adds to the story, supporting the action which occurs as a consequence of the moonshine maker’s upbringing and nature.
Here’s an example of the writing:
Cousin Crick was asleep in the lawn chair in front of an old shack I used for my second still. How that poor chair supported his fat ass, I’ll never know. Crick came close to 30 pounds with about 20 of them located in his chin.
There are some grim elements – murders, torture and the corrupt church – but these are delivered with a wry sense of humour and are by no means gory or black. There’s also a strong family and friends message in the narrative.
The tension ramps up really well and by the latter half of the book all I wanted to do was turn the page and find out what happens. The ending is well done and ties perfectly together.
All in all an excellent read.
**Originally reviewed for Books and Pals blog. May have received free review copy.**
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I read author Caldwell's other two books that are part of the BACKWOODS JUSTICE series and feature diminutive Deputy Dani Savage. I enjoyed them - a lot - so wanted to read this other offering by this author and I'm so glad that I did.
"Maiden Falls is situated at the s**t end of Tennessee. It’s a hill town." And E.R. Percy is a bootlegging hill man. He loves his wife and his baby daughter and is proud of making the best bootleg whiskey in Tennessee - or maybe the whole country.
He's happy with his life so when unusual things start happening around him, he's not too thrilled. He's got a naked, slimy giant in his brewing she'd, a drug kingpin isn't taking no for an answer about joining forces, and a teenage bombshell is testing his resolve.
I loved this book. It feels very authentic to backwoods hill country with the people involved and the language they use. And it is chock full of dark humor. It is also full of some very violent scenes, so do be forewarned.
I hope Caldwell keeps up the writing. I would love to read another book about Deputy Dani Savage and the Closeout Kings, or another tale featuring E.R. Percy.
Realistic "down-home" dialogue and humor and nicely fleshed out characters highlight this tale of a simple man who finds himself facing a tempting moral dilemma even as he becomes embroiled in a terrible mystery. The recurring theme of family throughout the story makes this engaging thriller endearing as well as exciting.
Hang on readers, because y'all are gonna have some fun with this one! Highly recommended!
The author has a very unique voice which really shines through his use of the 1st person POV in Bad Way Out. E.R. Percy and the circle of miscreants and well-intentioned, but imperfect, good ol' boys who populate Maiden Falls make a great bunch of characters, and the tale is really well-orchestrated. From the very first scene where E.R. struggles to deal with an unusual and unexpected discovery in his moonshine still shed, this book had my full attention. The humor is dark and biting in many ways, and the language used is often profane, but both the humor and the language felt quite authentic based on my long experience living in the hills of Appalachia.
E.R. is self-aware enough to recognize his imperfections, but he serves as a strong protagonist for this tale --- clever, stubborn, honest, and keenly aware of his surroundings, including many of his neighbors' foibles and sins. His attempt to help a Yankee meth dealer understand his hometown's culture and its perspective on things --- particularly pertaining to its love of America which often does not extend to the politicians who run its government --- was short on fancy words, but really seemed to hit the nail on the head.
While Bad Way Out may not be the so-called "Great American Novel" --- and the last 20% of the book in particular had a number of typos that a good editor should have caught --- it nonetheless kept me entertained, engaged, and frequently belly-laughing from start-to-finish. If you're not offended by profanity or cynicism, I highly recommend it.
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