Top positive review
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A Damn Fine Read
on 20 September 2009
Not as good as The Missing [See my report], but still a damn fine read. Set in a logging camp in the Louisiana swamps in the prohibition, roaring twenties. Gautreaux is again a master at setting the scene so well that you can almost feel the humidity , smell the sweat and hear the jungle. Any law is of the very rough justice, do it yourself variety. The official law enforcement is corrupt or totally ineffectual with the possible exception of
old sheriff Merville who is a decent man, but old and sick. The supply of alcohol and women to the camp is controlled by the sinister Sicilians . There is racialism and segregation between the not far removed from slavery blacks and the dirt poor whites. Disease is rampant and health and safety unheard of.
Against this background is the story of two brothers from a wealthy Pittsburgh industrialist family. One trying to come to terms with the horrors of his service in the Great War by hiding in the deep south ;the other sent down to find and save him from himself. Two men poles apart at this stage in their lives, but linked by a brotherly respect and yes, it is fair to say, love for each other.
The research is thorough, all the characters fully developed, the story fast moving, gripping and always believable.
Tim Gautreaux has quickly become one of my favourite writers. As with The Missing, this is a must read page turner.