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Oregon Hill Hardcover – July 15, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The Permanent Press (July 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579622089
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579622084
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Owen knows his setting, his dialogue is spot-on and his grasp of the down-and-dirty work of the police and news reporters lends authenticity to the narrative. This is Southern literature as expected, with a touch of noir, and with a touch of Dennis Lehane s Mystic River. Willie Black deserves a sequel."--Kirkus

"Oregon Hill is a wondrous trip into the world of sarcastic newspaper reporters, bad cops, and murder most foul. Having worked as a newspaper reporter, Mr. Owen writes in a captivating voice, his acute observations granting authenticity to the bullet-speed pace of the story. Newspaperman Willie Black is masterfully created, ink and dark humor coursing through his hardboiled veins. It is hoped that this is the beginning of a series of books staring Willie and crew. Bring on the sequel!"--NY Journal of Books

"Character-driven crime fiction executed with style."--Booklist

"Off-beat characters such as peripatetic drifter Awesome Dude and Owen's spot-on take on the slow death of a newspaper (shrinking pages, repeated staff cuts, on-line presence, blogging, etc.) add ballast. The deft and surprising plot builds to a satisfying ending. Readers will hope that Willie will soon return in a sequel."--Publishers Weekly

"Place and culture play such a vital part in this mystery, the question is not so much who-dun-it as what-isn't-he-telling and how-does-he-know. The narrator s voice is convincing throughout and the characters leap from the page. Acts of remembrance, compassion and love are redefined by accident, choice or conviction. And the reader is pulled into the realities and compromises of an imperfect world, made just perfect enough in this story to carry the weight of hope and a future." --Café Libre

"While the narrative is certainly compelling, what gives Oregon Hill a degree of heft is its commentary on the fate of print journalism in the digital age. To an extent, the novel decries the sad state of affairs created by the dwindling readership for traditional newspapers. At the same time, however, Owen is careful not to indulge in too much hand-wringing, as his protagonist is quick to recognize the value of so-called new media even if he's somewhat reluctant to embrace it. In this sense, Oregon Hill looks forward as much as it looks back, and offers a fairly complex look at our culture's current relationship with journalism. Reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen's Basket Case, Oregon Hill is as smart as it is thrilling, a true literary page-turner."--Small Press Reviews

"If anyone is watching out for the forgotten citizens of Oregon Hill, it's Willie, who grew up there and speaks the local language, a crisp and colorful urban idiom we can't wait to hear again." --The New York Times

About the Author

Howard Owen grew up near Fayetteville, North Carolina. He and his wife, Karen, live in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and are editors for The Free Lance-Star. This is his tenth novel. his earlier works include: Littlejohn, Fat Lightning, Rock of Ages, and The Reckoning. The protagonist of Oregon Hill, Willie Black, first appeared in a short story, The Thirteenth Floor, which was part of Richmond Noir.

More About the Author

Howard Owen is a novelist and journalist living in Fredericksburg, Va. His 10th novel, "Oregon Hill," was published in July of 2012. Publishers Weekly, in the pre-publication review, calls it "a warm and witty crime novel," adding "the deft and surprising plot builds to a satisfying ending. Readers will hope that Willie will soon return in a sequel."
Struck by either an epiphany or a midlife crisis, Owen wrote his first novel, "Littlejohn," in 1990. The first draft took him about 100 days. At the time, Owen was sports editor of a daily newspaper. He is now business editor of The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg. He has never taken a sabbatical, adhering instead to a schedule that includes about an hour a day for writing or revising. He finds that it is possible to do great things with an hour a day, every day.
He is married to Karen Van Neste Owen, Viewpoints editor of the Free Lance-Star and his sweetheart of 42 years. He grew up near Fayetteville, N.C., on the edge of his grandfather's farm. He likes Paris, the Washington Redskins, snowy days when he doesn't have to drive to work, steamed crabs, Smithfield ham, North Carolina barbecue, bourbon and water, cold long-neck Miller High-Lifes on a hot summer day, other people covering Dylan songs, movies that surprise him and the company of good friends.

Customer Reviews

Good plot & characters.
Amazon Customer
I eagerly look forward to spending more time with Willie Black in future books.
Amazon Customer
It is a great story, skillfully told.
J G Sauls

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Librarian VINE VOICE on July 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
When the headless body of college student Isabel Ducharme is found snagged on a tree branch in the South Anna River of Richmond, Virginia, night beat reporter Willie Mays Black knows this will be a big story. And Willie desperately needs a big story. Approaching 50 and thrice-divorced, he knows his long-term employment prospects at the newspaper are rapidly dimming. So, when his former wife Kate agrees to defend the prime suspect in Isabel's murder--one Martin Fell--and asks for his help in proving the man's innocence, Willie cannot turn away from the fight. After all, he grew up in Richmond's hard-scrabble Oregon Hill where he still lives, works, and drinks, and he has some serious doubts about the "confession" obtained by the police. But he never expected the fight to get deadly.

"Oregon Hill" by Howard Owen is a character-driven mystery enhanced by the first-person observations of the very self-aware narrator, Willie Mays Black. Black knows exactly who he is and makes no apologies for his shortcomings. In some respects, he is the male counterpart to Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone--a sarcastic observer of the people and places that define his life. And the more he becomes convinced of Martin Fell's innocence, the more determined he is to find Isabel's killer. Black's outlook on life is shaded by his childhood in Oregon Hill as the son of a single pot-smoking white mother and a black father he never knew. He is not intimidated by the police officers who resent his suggestions in his news blog that there is something suspicious about exactly how they obtained Fell's confession.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By kansasplains on January 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Stayed up most of the night to finish this book. I'm a westerner/midwesterner, haven't much experience with eastern cities, so I enjoyed hearing the nitty-gritty of tough neighborhoods. A night cop reporter, Willie Black is not particularly lovable, given his bad habits and past transgressions, but he certainly is likable, and I was rooting for him all the way. Painful, but very true, also, was Owens depiction of the sorry state of print journalism these days. Felt like I was right in the newsroom (which I have been).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marla on September 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed this book. The story takes place over a short period of time. Willie, who is a newspaper reporter, works to uncover who really killed the girl when he doesn't believe who the police has in custody is the real killer. There are some twist and turns and Willie is keeping the truth from certain people in his life and the author is also keeping the truth from the readers until the last minute. I didn't put two and two together until the Willie was hearing the story unfold by the killer. You pretty much know who the killer is but you don't know why until the very end and then it was like Oh, I get it now. I would recommend this book. It's a good read, great descriptions that you knew who the people were. It seemed to be very effortless writing. Entertaining.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael C. Taylor on September 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After several less than inspiring thrillers with deceptively positive ratings, here is one that actually warrants it! This book was well researched, well written and the characters seem to have some depth to them. I found myself caring about what happens and found most of the situations remotely believable - hard in some thrillers. While there were ups and downs in the plot line, overall this kept my attention and was a very entertaining read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bill Lohmann on December 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Howard is such a great writer and terrific storyteller. "Oregon Hill" is a fun read with wonderful plot twists and colorful characters. And if you've ever found yourself in a newsroom in recent years, well, Howard nails that, too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Willie on March 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's always nice to read a book when you are familiar with the area. In this one, you will really know Willlie Black by the time you finish Follow up with The PHiladelphia Quarry.
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By Jugs on March 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The ram is exactly as described. Package protected the ram comfortably and was easy to open. No directions were needed.
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By Amazon Customer on February 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good plot & characters. The setting in Richmond was fun, since I live here, but the plot stands on its own.
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