I bought this book because: 1) one of the narrators is Mark Bramhall, and 2) the story was touted as a Southern Novel.
Bramhall didn't disappoint. He NEVER does. The 5 stars in the review of Performance are for him. Unfortunately, his character speaks less than any of the others.
But the story - while it had its moments (more than a few outstanding, compelling moments early on, as a matter of fact) - ultimately it didn't deliver on what those opening scenes had promised.
There was too much about the boy Jess. Yes, his POV was integral to the plot, but we were forced to go down too many childhood rabbit trails with him. Or maybe it was that, combined with the fact that the narrator of his voice was my least favorite.
Finally, the ending ruined the experience for me. It seems ideally suited for a TV movie.
The book may be set in the South, but it's a long way from being a Southern Novel.
This is a debut novel but reminds me of the passion and force of novels by John Hart and Tom Franklin. We’re in a small town in North Carolina. There is a church right outside of town, in the mountains, which is very fundamentalist-in fact they use snakes in their worship service. The preacher is a very controlling and evil man. Jess Hall, and his “slow” older brother, nicknamed Stump, are playing around one day. They hear people in their mom and dad’s bedroom so they crawl up on the rain barrel to see what’s going on. They find their mother in bed, not with their father, but with the minister. Stump is caught. Stump has never been able to talk. The minister convinces his mother he should be brought to the church, and they will all put hands upon him and he will talk. Jess is very scared, and ultimately Stump is killed. The sheriff, Clem Barefield, has to try to figure out what actually happened and who is responsible. And Adelaide Lyle, the midwife and a very frank person, tries to help the Hall family. This is a very good and somewhat terrifying book with a tragic ending. Very good things can be expected from this author.
I love all things Southern Literature and so much wanted to like this...but I can not make myself finish it. The characters are caricatures, the story so-so, and the narration is just awful. The sheriff is the only decent tolerable voice. Jess and Adelaide just make me wince with every word spoken. I understand regional accents are difficult (and I probably am fooled by every Boston, Maine, New York narration I hear) but I give up on this one for the sake of my ears and the silliness of the story line. Sorry! Just very disappointed
This story is a mystery, a coming of age story, and a struggle between good and evil all rolled into one. It was well paced and well written.
This story is told from multiple points of view and read by different actors. All of them are excellent. I could hardly stop listening. Each character brought their own point of view to the unfolding events. I thought the voice of the young boy was very good. This book started out a little slow but it wasn't long before I was caught up in the story.
One of the best and one of my new favorite stories.
The three narrators really brought this story to life.
Hellfire and brimstone
The encounter between the sheriff and Chamblis in the barn.
The story is told from three different point of views with three narrators. This definitely added to the story with the accents and tones.
It made me sad to think good people could be so lost as to follow someone who is not good.
Highly recommended summer read!
This is worth reading. But I think the book could have benefitted from some further editing. Loved the characters and most of the narration.
Tragic story told with lyrical brilliance by Cash. My only complaint is that the narrator who portrays Jess is tortuous to listen to. Nearly made me quit listening all together. Being a southerner, it's very hard for me to listen to a faux southern accent. Especially one as bad as he (Bramhall?) uses. He sounds like the only southern voice he has heard was Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. I would have preferred he not try to do an accent at all. The writing, however, is made to present southern dialect. I'm just not sure why they didn't cast a native southerner for the role.
The other two do a decent job, the Sheriff being the better of the two.
Still worth buying. The storyline outweighs these faults.