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Last of the Dixie Heroes Hardcover – May 29, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With his diverse settings, quirky characters and intriguing story lines, Abrahams (Crying Wolf; A Perfect Crime; etc.) has set himself up as a master of engrossing, off-the-beaten-track suspense yarns. However, although his latest effort starts out promisingly, it runs out of steam just when it should be revving up to a climax. Though he doesn't realize it at first, Roy Hill's life in Atlanta is coming apart at the seams. His company has been taken over by a megacorporation (resulting in Roy's losing out on a promised promotion), he's divorced (with an 11-year-old son) and his ex-wife's new squeeze "doesn't even bother to get dressed in the morning" (he's a lumpy online trader). But when Roy becomes intrigued by the off-hours activities of one of his business colleagues a Civil War reenactor our hero seems to have found a comfortable niche. At first, Roy finds Gordo's hobby amusing ("harmless fun in funny clothes"), but the peace of 1863 life begins to look better and better and the boundaries between contemporary reality and historical playacting begin to blur with increasingly disturbing repercussions. It's clear from the outset that the Abrahams style is still in high gear the deadpan humor, often expressed as wry one-liners; the trenchant observations on motivation and behavior. But the author gets bogged down in historical details and a myriad of vaguely developed characters, and readers may find that Roy's confusion becomes their own. This is a case where the journey (read: Roy's gradual dissolution) proves more enticing than the ultimate destination. (June)Forecast: This won't be Abrahams's Appomattox, but it sure won't be his greatest triumph, either.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Roy Singleton Hill's life is falling apart, but he isn't very quick to realize it. Not only has he convinced himself that he is going to get a big promotion, but he is also confident that he can win back his estranged wife and help his 11-year-old son settle down and succeed in school. When his present and future problems finally hit him, he begins to uncover his family's past. He joins a group of Civil War re-enactors and finds himself more comfortable in the simpler and more violent world of his great-great-grandfather, a Confederate hero whose name he carries; reality and fantasy start to blur. Although this work is suspenseful, its climax is rather abrupt, and the actions of some of the minor characters seem contrived and unlikely. If Abrahams (Crying Wolf) had been able to maintain the tone and pacing throughout, this would have been an excellent book. Still, it is a good summer read and is recommended for all public libraries. Patrick Wall, University Cty. P.L., MO
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (May 29, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345439376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345439376
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,964,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Abrahams - "criminally gifted" according to the New York Times Book Review - is the author of 27 novels. These include the New York Times bestselling Echo Falls mystery series for middle-graders (DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE, BEHIND THE CURTAIN, INTO THE DARK) and REALITY CHECK (2009) for teens. Among his adult books are OBLIVION (Shamus prize finalist), THE FAN (made into a movie with Robert DeNiro) and LIGHTS OUT (Edgar award finalist). DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE was a finalist for the Edgar best young adult mystery award and won the Agatha in the same category. BEHIND THE CURTAIN and INTO THE DARK were Agatha finalists. In her Cleveland Plain Dealer review of NERVE DAMAGE (2007), Michelle Ross wrote: "I swear, if one more literary person says in that oh-so-condescendng tone, 'Oh, I don't read ... mysteries,' I'm going to take a novel by Peter Abrahams and smack him on his smug little head." REALITY CHECK won the best young adult mystery Edgar award in 2010. ROBBIE FORESTER AND THE OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD STREET, January 2012, is first in a new middle-grade series about a twelve-year-old Robin Hood in contemporary Brooklyn.
As Spencer Quinn, Abrahams also writes the New York Times bestselling Chet and Bernie mystery series: DOG ON it, THEREBY HANGS A TAIL, TO FETCH A THIEF, and THE DOG WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. He has a website - peterabrahams.com; and so does Chet - chetthedog.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Brian English on July 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
However, LAST OF THE DIXIE HEROES is subtitled "A Novel of Suspense," but it's hard to figure out why. There really isn't much in the way of suspense in this book.
Regardless of this, Abrahams had me there for a while. For two thirds of LAST OF THE DIXIE HEROES, Abrahams weaves an interesting tale of a guy stuck in a dead-end white collar job. Roy Singleton Hill is buffetted by the forces of corporate mergers, cuckolded by his floozy of a wife, and desperately trying to salvage his relationship with his son. Abrahams is at his best as he paints this uncomfortably realistic portrait of a man's world falling apart.
As Hill begins to get involved in reenacting the Civil War, we see him gradually move away from his grim present and live increasingly in his rose-colored view of the past of his great-great-grandfather and namesake, a Confederate hero who rode with Nathan Bedford Forrest. In spite of Abrahams' acknowledgement that he consulted men from the 22nd Massachusetts reenactment group in his research, he gets the reenactment scene a little wrong. But these are forgiveable errors, which can be put down to poetic license.
Less forgiveable is how the story implodes in the last seventy or so pages. Hill's relationship with Lee, a fellow reenactor who is not what he seems develops and peters out meaninglessly. Hill runs into what could be a long-lost relative, but this fascinating storyline is left undeveloped and without a real payoff. An incredible encounter with his one-time boss at an amazing point of the story come totally out of nowhere, and passes by without incident. But the worst part is where, for some strange reason, a group of rival reenactors escalate to a scale of real-life violence for no apparent reason.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "irish28ma" on June 19, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book had a catchy title and I picked it up. It was a great read from the start but was so twisted near the end.
The main character Roy seemed so clueless. The author's constant uses of "What?", "I don't know what you mean", and Roy's constant state of bewilderment was almost laughable. He had no clue of what people were saying around him. In fact, a whole page is dedicated to someone trying to clue him in. For example when Roy was told his whole department was let go he didn't get it. Even though all of the furniture, computers, and cubes were gone Roy was still wondering when he was going to start his new job as the boss of a department that was missing. The conference call with NY was classic, Roy ripping his shirt off because he couldn't breathe... correction Curtis's shirt, because Roy forgot he was wearing a UGA Football T-Shirt. The ending made no sense. I should write a book if they publish this junk.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Dunn on February 21, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the praise for this book (on the back cover) it makes this book sound like a "crime story". To me it was more fantasy...sort of trying to see if history will repeat itself.

The first part of the book is somewhat gripping...a man down on his luck, having his life unravel before your eyes. Yes, Roy Hill's life slipped out of control, but to then have him reborn as a Confederate War Hero was a bit of a stretch.

I enjoyed reading the parts of the book dealing with Civil War Reenactments. Up until the end of the book, some of it was believable. The last few chapters were pretty bad. I think most people are annoyed at this book for unravelling in the same way the main character did.

I expected more. I hate books that wrap everything up neatly on the last page...that just isn't real life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Butts HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 2, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Abrahams LAST OF THE DIXIE HEROES starts out pretty well, offering a glimpse into the disintegration of Roy Hill's life. With his wife and son living with a computer dork named Barry, Roy still has a good job and is geared up for a promotion. We never really understand what happened to his marriage, suffice to say his wife is a hypocritic flirt and his son, Rhett, an insufferable wimp. Roy ends up participating in one of those Civil War re-enactments and from there the story goes into a mind-boggling maze of ambiguities and unbelievable twists and turns. This might have worked if there had been some element of true suspense; however, Abrahams pokes along, losing character and plot development and an ending that comes out of nowhere.
Abrahams, the good writer he is, should have left this one alone.
NOT RECOMMENDED.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charles M. Duran on May 19, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
On the front of the book it said "A Novel of Suspense". I kept reading and reading waiting for the suspense to happen, even in the last 50 pages I still held out hope, but NOOO... This book reminded me of a bad made-for-TV movie. The epilogue-like ending (don't read further if you don't want it spoiled), was ludicrously unbelievable as the main character shoots the antagonist between the eyes then gets a $250 dollar fine for disturbing the peace. What a waste of time. This was my first Abrahams novel, read because Stephen King had recommend four of his books in "On Writing" (not this one). I'll give him another try - hope he has something better to offer than this wretched scribbling that would never have gotten published by a no-name author. Simply awful!
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