The sheriff's deputy at the front door brings hard news to Ree Dolly. Her father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn't show up for his next court date. Ree's father has disappeared before. The Dolly clan has worked the shadowy side of the law for generations, and arrests (and attempts to avoid them) are part of life in Rathlin Valley.
In the parish of St. Bruno, sex is easy, corruption festers, and double-dealing is a way of life. Rene Shade is an uncompromising detective swimming in a sea of filth. As Shade takes on hit men, porn kings, a gang of ex-cons, and the ghosts of his own checkered past, Woodrell’s three seminal novels pit long-entrenched criminals against the hard line of the law, brother against brother, and two vastly different sons against a long-absent father.
"Meet James Lee Burke's Better"
In the Ozarks, what you are is where you are born. If you're born in Venus Holler, you're not much. For Jamalee Merridew, her hair tomato red with rage and ambition, Venus Holler just won't cut it. Jamalee sees her brother, Jason, blessed with drop-dead gorgeous looks and the local object of female obsession, as her ticket out of town. But Jason may just be gay, and in the hills and hollows of the Ozarks, that is the most dangerous and courageous thing a man could be. Enter Sammy Barlach, a loser ex-con passing through a tired nowhere on the way to a fresher nowhere....
"A great addicting read."
Shug Akins is a lonely, overweight 13-year-old boy. His mother, Glenda, is the one person who loves him - she calls him Sweet Mister and attempts to boost his confidence and give him hope for his future. Shuggie's purported father, Red, is a brutal man with a short fuse who mocks and despises the boy. Into this small-town Ozarks mix comes Jimmy Vin Pearce, with his shiny green T-bird and his smart city clothes. When he and Glenda begin a torrid affair, a series of violent events is inevitably set in motion. The outcome will break your heart.
Set in the border states of Kansas and Missouri, Woe to Live On explores the nature of lawlessness and violence, friendship and loyalty, through the eyes of young recruit Jake Roedel. Where he and his fellow First Kansas Irregulars go, no one is safe, no one can be neutral. Roedel grows up fast, experiencing a brutal parody of war without standards or mercy. But as friends fall and families flee, he questions his loyalties and becomes an outsider even to those who have become outlaws.
"Totally original and true voice of Southern MO"
Alma DeGeer Dunahew, the mother of three young boys, works as the maid for a prominent citizen and his family in West Table, Missouri. Her husband is mostly absent, and, in 1929, her scandalous, beloved younger sister is one of the 42 killed in an explosion at the local dance hall. Who is to blame? Mobsters from St. Louis? The embittered local gypsies? The preacher who railed against the loose morals of the waltzing couples? Or could it have been a colossal accident?
Doyle Redmond, 35-year-old nowhere writer, has crossed the line between imagination and real live trouble. On the lam in his soon-to-be ex-wife's Volvo, he's running a family errand back in his boyhood home of West Table, Missouri - the heart of the red-dirt Ozarks. The law wants his big brother, Smoke, on a felony warrant, and Doyle's supposed to talk him into giving up. But Smoke is making other plans: he is about to harvest a profitable patch of homegrown marijuana.
Daniel Woodrell is able to lend uncanny logic to harsh, even criminal behavior in this wrenching collection of stories. Desperation-both material and psychological - motivates his characters. A husband cruelly avenges the killing of his wife's pet; an injured rapist is cared for by a young girl, until she reaches her breaking point; a disturbed veteran of Iraq is murdered for his erratic behavior; an outsider's house is set on fire by an angry neighbor. There is also the tenderness and loyalty of the vulnerable in these stories - between spouses, parents and children, siblings, and comrades in arms....
"Terse, violent, and revelatory"