The villain is usually the most interesting part. But it has to be a smart thing. Just dumb cliche villains with a Russian accent and big muscles and a mean face, I don’t know. My Russian accent isn’t that great, and the muscles aren’t that big and the mean face is not enough. You know what I mean? It gets very boring. Tedious stuff. – Christoph Waltz

I grew up in the South. Heat like a wet blanket draped over your soul, bugs and mud. But good things too – Southern comfort food and blues. Good and bad, just as any other place in the world. I still find it interesting to see how others portray the feeling of the South, and will often pick up books set there simply for that fact. The world of the south has changed since my day, of course – change, and bad change, is to be expected these days. And the bad is really bad, as the ongoing problems of poverty continue to spread the issues of drugs and violence into the once safe areas. Gerald Duff is a Texan, which can in a way be called the South of course, though the people there seem to feel themselves their own country (grin). He has lived in all strata of society, from oil field hand and cotton picker to university professor, so he has been able to integrate those experiences into his writing, earning him membership in the Texas Institute of Letters. All this encouraged me to believe that the book would be exceptional.

Sadly, I found the book to be devastatingly clichéd. Marble-mouthed black people living in the projects, just too, too prissy ‘Old Southern Money’, the white Yankee drug dealer come to ‘sippi for the old blues music (and the ink black girl children he can rape). It felt like the author wrote up a list of stereotypes and then built his book from those corny subjects. Overall, it isn’t a “bad” book, per se, but it gave me a headache – probably because I expected more.

Others have enjoyed this book quite a bit, and just because I found it irritating doesn’t mean you will. There are a few laughs to be had, which were worthwhile.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

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