I have read and reviewed/ rated several of the author’s Vietnam novels and thought they were good fiction and rated right up there with Fields of Fire, A Rumor of War, or my favorite, The 13th Valley. I was there, and he did a very good job of creating for the reader the sights, smells, and feel of that place and time, as well as
drawing some very well-rounded characters. In Tallahatchie, I think he’s the one who did the rounding out as a very good writer. I’ve never spent much time in the Mississippi Delta (and I’m not sure I want to), but this book saves me the trip. It captures that region today, complete with run down factories, small towns, diner food, waitresses, Delta blues, racism, rednecks, pick up trucks, and all the rest, with a cast of marvelously original characters, as the protagonist, Jack Hartman, leaves the modern world and heads to the Delta to ‘save’ a hopelessly run down factory. I spent two college summers working in a place just like that, and the author nails that too. His characters are the key. At its heart, good fiction (southern or any other kind) is about good characters, half fo whom you want to smack or laugh at, and all the action, feel, or setting won’t make up for weak ones. The author can call this ‘southern fiction’ if he wants, although I’m not sure what that means other than he absolutely nails a time and a region and it is a very well written story. I don’t want to give ti the ‘kiss-of-death’ label of ‘serious fiction,’ because it is simply a really good novel. Period!
William F. Brown is the author of eight suspense novels, including Burke’s Gamble, Burke’s War, and The Undertaker, exclusively available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited