The Marble Orchard by Alex Taylor
Available from Ig Publishing Jan 2015
I received an ARC from the publisher so I could write this review…and how lucky I am to have been given a copy!
This is an engrossing literary thriller that has an almost Southern Gothic feel. Beam Sheetmire spends his days operating a small river ferry. The ferry is in its final days as the bridge and industry have all but taken away his family’s source of income. But he continues on, unable in this small Kentucky backwater to do much more.
One day a man asks for a ride across. There is an altercation, a strange encounter that leaves the customer dead. Beam flits away, hoping to evade the law. But the laws of blood and kinship are far more frightening; the man is the son of Loat Duncan, a powerful figure who is as sadistic as he is ugly.
A trucker who gives Beam a ride turns out to be an almost otherworldly figure. Sharply dressed in suits he has stolen from one of his hauls, the trucker is alternately a saving angle and a demonic figure. He presses Beam into confrontations he would rather avoid. But in this world, there is no real escape from your actions or the blood running through your veins.
Written with an eerie voice that captures readers in a stranglehold grip, The Marble Orchard is a meditation on family and a criticism of small-town life that offers vindication and justice in ways the official law never can.
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