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The Latest Bloodshed Kindle Edition
Jelly Lovejoy, a weary young police detective in Warden, Georgia, takes off a mental health day at the demand of his chief. Jelly decides to wander about his hometown and county talking with lover, friend and foe, listening for clues, current and legendary, about the mysteries that confront him and his hometown. Near the Florida line, semi-tropical Warden struggles with festering social problems beneath the postcard veneer of a sleepy old county courthouse, a restored downtown commercial square and the apparently prosperous retail franchise sprawl of its outskirts. Immigration of Mexican field labor has largely replaced black and white workers on the rich agricultural lands of surrounding Strickland County. Large farm corporations, remotely owned, are buying small family farms unable to compete globally. Old and new social issues jockey for local attention; while overt crimes of racism fall, thefts of property and acts of personal violence rise; an epidemic of drug use, including deadly, homemade methamphetamine, scars the police blotter weekly; turf wars between ethnic drug dealers claim lives in ruthless attacks.Detective Jelly Lovejoy has reached a professional and personal crossroads, and commitment questions, long held in suspension, now fall to earth with the swift relentlessness of gravity.
Jim Stallings is a writer, editor and anthropologist. His other published books include Tales for Commuters & Other Time Travelers, Hunters in the Fog: War Diary to Screenplay, Neon Nirvana: A Romance of the New Age, and Devil?s Hopper. See his website: http://www.jimstallings.com.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 3 reviews
Billy Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge . . . .
31 October 2005 - Published on Amazon.com
3 people found this helpful.
Found myself humming Bobbie Gentry's sultry, mysterious, and very Southern "Ode to Billy Joe" almost continuously while enjoying this novel. Very apropos soundtrack. In "The Latest Bloodshed," Jim Stallings demonstrates a musician's ear for dialogue, a poet's eye for detail, and a master storyteller's ability to create a suspenseful tale punctuated with action. He slowly and deliberately spins a moody, multifaceted yarn that plunges headlong into the murky depths of the human psyche. It's a disturbing, cynical tour where emotions and relationships are as tangled as a field of kudzu. In essence, this is a work of philosophy wrapped in the guise of a mystery. This novel is not about the Deep South, or race relations, or struggling family farmers, or the drug trade. At its heart, the subject matter explored is actually much broader and more fundamental: the complexity of human relationships; the search for fulfillment; the struggle of the individual to find meaning in his existence. Protagonist Jelly Lovejoy is searching for, among other things, love and joy in his life. Thought-provoking, surprisingly enjoyable; penned by an author with great powers of introspection and observation, combined with a large dollop of life experience.
The Southern Family
19 January 2006 - Published on Amazon.com
2 people found this helpful.
What stood out for me in The Latest Bloodshed, by Jim Stallings, is the examiniation of family dynamics based on expectations placed on members of the Lovejoy family of Warden, Georgia. The oldest sibling, Bill, a farmer, has to carry the weight of the first-born, and thus is more sensitive to perceived failures and prone to taking dangerous risks. Jelly, the youngest, and a police detective, is unable to commit, to a career or a relationship. There are some worthy endings involving Jelly and his love of years, Connie; and Sammy Lovejoy finds his balance, his true self in a surprising other. The women are direct, especially Connie and Lovejoy sibling Lou Ann, with their shotguns; and they go after what they want in more ways than that. Grannie Rose is the embodiment of all the romance and myth of the South. The book is full of regional references, providing a strong sense of place, combined with recent demographic and political shifts in the South which Stallings examines masterfully. Time and point of view are well handled as well. This book is an engaging read, with a terrific plotline and meaningful family subtexts.
Brimming with seething expectations
18 October 2005 - Published on Amazon.com
2 people found this helpful.
Stallings is in his element here. Set in his native Georgia, the breathless narrative takes off like the proverbial bat out of hell and never lets up. With fearless command of the blood, sweat and spit idiom, Stallings pulls no punches in his pinpoint exegesis of the brooding disquiet in our modern day deep south. The story unfolds around detective Lovejoy - a protagonist with a complexity of character that conjures up a field of possibilities. Despite the psychological baggage and a cast of detractors, he seems quietly determined to strike a blow at the hardboiled center of the rural psyche. This sharp witted, acid tongued novel, we begin to discover, is delivering more than an engrossing tale. The impending changes in a social structure that has produced food crops and cannon fodder in the past may be foretelling an inevitable upheaval of global ramifications. The Last Bloodshed is Stallings' best work so far.