From Publishers Weekly
Sherman's promising debut chronicles a young man's thorny return to his Louisiana hometown. Baxter Parish is a "dead-end place, a place filled with death and violence, a territory sunk in the mire of unemployment and poverty." After serving 12 years in the army, 30-year-old Jesse Taddock returns to Baxter Parish to bid his dying mother farewell, and then decides to stay. He secures a job as deputy sheriff, reunites with an old high school flame and buys a house with his $30,000 inheritance. Life looks to be just fine until the giant Balem "Cotton" Moxley shows up at Jesse's doorstep with a shotgun, vowing to reclaim the land he insists rightfully belongs to him. Jesse, forced to choose between capitulation (the sheriff's strong advice) and a good hard fight, opts for the latter. With the assistance of his uncle Red, Jesse prepares to go head to head with Moxley, erecting blockades and fashioning an arsenal of bullets, bombs and blades. Sherman brilliantly reunites a land with its own set of vicious rules with a native of that land who, as a changed man, simply wants peace. Weaving his way through a series of complex characters and a terrain fertilized with a proud but bloody history, Sherman tells a spirited and engaging tale.
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Tadlocks ain't known to run from a fight in Louisiana's Baxter Parish. So it strains familial relations some when young Jesse Tadlock avoids a legal scrape by enlisting in the army and then stays overseas for a dozen years. Meanwhile, his mom has been dying of cancer, and Uncle Red has been grumbling about Jesse's failure to return home in a timely fashion. When Jesse finally does show up, he feels the good life in his grasp--what with a job offer from the sheriff, his old gal still pining away, and enough inheritance to buy a decent spread in the parish hill country. But then a hellish man under the law's shady protection arrives to claim the repossessed property as family land. Plumb out of his depth, Jesse soon looks to stubborn Uncle Red for help hanging onto both his property and life. This pitch-perfect debut novel, about a hard-luck place where blood feuds spring up natural as pit bulls after raw meat, will go down easier with fans of rural crime stories than a juicy pork steak steeped in red-eye gravy. Frank SennettCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved