Dec 1, 2011
Author: Raymond Atkins
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Medallion Press; First Edition edition (August 1, 2009)
2009 IPPY Gold Medal Award winner
for Southeast Best Regional Fiction
2009 Georgia Author of the Year Award Winner
The first thing I'll say is that Raymond has a way with the written word. He knows how to write a good story. This book is filled with delightful phrasing and a beautiful flow of words. Wraps around your brain like a melody you enjoy the moment you hear it. Sometimes I come across a book where the style of writing just grabs me so much that if it was a book on how to make bricks I'd just keep reading.
Luckily for me, and for you, not only can Raymond make magic with words, but the story itself is interesting.
I don't say this to mean that the book starts off slowly, but the "plot" described on the book jacket doesn't really come into the story until page 100 or so. Before that comes a wonderful build-up of characters. The main characters, Reva and Wendell, have full chapters going back into their childhood to help explain how and why they are what they are today. In the meantime various town characters interact with them in their own amusing "vignette" stories. Reva and Wendell also have a long history together - through many past lives - that's pretty fascinating to read about.
The story claims to be a full on crime mystery mixed with mysticism. When a rather promiscuous woman, who some called a witch, is found murdered, Wendell soon finds out that his sleepy little town of Sand Valley, Alabama holds some pretty dark mysteries. I don't want to give away any of the story, you'll have to find it all out on your own.
But I don't really think that's the story. The real story is Reva and Wendell and their lives together. Past lives, early lives and where they go from this one.
But this is definitely a winner of a book that you'll be more than pleased to have spent time with. I could read Raymond's words all day long without tiring of them.