From Publishers Weekly
In this less than impressive stand-alone crime novel from Lister (Double Exposure
), Merrick McKnight, an unemployed newspaper journalist, struggles to maintain his bearings after the deaths of his wife and their young son, Ty, in a car accident. In Panama City, Fla., where Merrick hopes to get a glimpse of Regan, the married stripper with whom he's been having an affair, who's in town with her weekend-biker husband, he spots a photo of Ty's much older half-sister, Casey, with whom he's lost touch, on the cover of the official magazine of Thunder Beach, Panama City's annual spring biker rally. When Casey is reported missing, Merrick goes on a hunt for the young woman that takes him in and out of strip clubs and seedy bars. A possible link with sex slavery raises the stakes. Some readers may find a misunderstanding that relates to Casey's fate a bit of a cheat, while the idealistic note struck at the end jars with the atmosphere of grim realism that pervades the rest of the book. (May)
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From January Magazine
Michael Lister continues his dark explorations of northern Florida's underbelly in Thunder Beach (Tyrus Books).
The author's prose is spare, with the dialogue introduced by dashes instead of quotation marks, à la Charlie Huston. And his narrative is laced with a peculiar sadness that permeates McKnight's life.
Novelist and screenwriter Michael Lister, already known for his series about Florida prison chaplain John Jordan, has written in Thunder Beach a poignant and lyrical noir story that's as much about redemption as it is about shattered lives.
From Spinetingler Magazine
Merrick McKnight is a recent victim of the downsizing of The Democrat, the newspaper published in his town in the Florida Panhandle. The area itself, Panama City and Panama City Beach, at the moment finds itself inundated with bikers there to attend its annual spring biker rally, the eponymous Thunder Beach. The author describes the Hathaway Bridge, giving onto the port of Panama City, as something which "connects two worlds - - one of dreams, of paradisiacal fantasies, of concrete condos, giant houses built on sand; the other, of small town sensibilities, deep South traditions, of papers mill and port and public Protestantism." The "feel" of the Florida Panhandle is wonderfully evoked.
The author effectively doles out tidbits that are intriguing, before furnishing the reader with more backstory information on his protagonist. Suffice it to say that things are not always as they initially appear.
The book ultimately turns out to be quite a page-turner, one which I unexpectedly consumed in only several hours after I opened it, and it is recommended.