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Lightwood (Judah Cannon (1)) Hardcover – January 24, 2017
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"Brilliant...Lightwood solidifies Steph Post as the official voice of working class literature in Florida, akin to what Daniel Woodrell has done for Missouri, or Ron Rash for the Carolinas." ―Brian Panowich, bestselling author of Bull Mountain
"Post paints a large, vivid cast...Post's Florida is rather farther north than the world of Carl Hiaasen's fiction, but they share the dark comedy, intricate plotting and strong sense of paltry sin and mordant evil. Readers who like Hiaasen should find "Lightwood" well to their taste." ―Wilmington Star-News
"Grabs the attention and offers up some memorable lines. (Post) proves that even a former prison inmate can rise up to be a strange, yet believable hero." ―Suspense Magazine
"With spot-on characterizations and dialogue, Post explores the strength of family, religion, and vengeance in an absorbing literary mystery." ―Booklist
"(A) gritty, propulsive crime novel...Lightwood keeps up a headlong pace as the Cannons, the Scorpions, Sister Tulah and other forces clash brutally all around Judah and Ramey. You might not want to visit Silas in real life, but it makes a fine setting for this twisted and compelling tale." ―Tampa Bay Times
"Not only a badass modern love story, Lightwood is engaging and unpredictable...the best of the southern crime and southern gothic, and rises above the genre.” ―Atticus Review
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.24 pounds
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1943818304
- ISBN-13 : 978-1943818303
- Product Dimensions : 6.3 x 1.1 x 8.9 inches
- Reading level : 18 and up
- Publisher : Polis Books; First Edition (January 24, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,152,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The abundant promise of A TREE BORN CROOKED comes to full fruition in Post's second novel, LIGHTWOOD. The one way I felt the first novel fell short—a lack of well-developed antagonists—is more than atoned for in LIGHTWOOD, which features three distinct embodiments of evil: Sherwood Cannon, the career-criminal chief of a family that has held sway in the town of Silas through a variety of scams and small-time scores; Jack O'Lantern, the in-over-his-head leader of a local outlaw motorcycle gang who seems as unable to make the right decisions as he to admit when he's wrong; and Sister Tulah Atwell, the terrifyingly charismatic head of a Christian fundamentalist church (but "we don't handle snakes," she says) who has built her power base through intimidation, terror and criminal ambition.
Coming into their crosshairs is Judah Cannon, middle son of the clan, fresh off a stint in prison just up the road. When he reconnects with Ramey Barrow, his first love, he starts to see a better life for himself, one that doesn't involve crime. But he needs money to start fresh, and Sherwood (and brutish brother Levi) are the most obvious sources of it. But their first job as a reunited family — the heist of drug-sale money, from Jack O'Lantern's club, ticketed for Sister Tulah — has near-deadly consequences for a family member. It sets in motion a chain reaction of reprisals between the three antagonists that threaten to ruin any chance Judah and Ramey have for a fresh start. Unless they take the unthinkable step of turning everyone against everyone else and hoping they don't get caught up in increasingly heavy crossfire.
Steph Post knows these people. She has affection for them, between the lines written by an unsparing eye, and yet she has the distance from them to keep from rendering them in overly sentimental hues. They dream, they strive, they do stupid things, they undermine themselves. She knows how they drink, what they do in their parked pickup trucks, what dark things await them beyond the borders of piney woods. And in inbuing her watertight thriller plot with such a richly developed sense of place, Steph Post is joining a number of fine hardboiled crime writers in staking out her own territory. As Arkansas is to Jake Hinkson, or New Jersey is to Thomas Pluck, or the Virginia-North Carolina border is to Eryk Pruitt, or East Texas is to Joe R. Lansdale, or mountaintop Georgia is to Brian Panowich, north-central Florida is to Steph Post. And IS Steph Post. And as such, Steph Post deserves mention in their ranks. She's going to be big, folks.
These books are somewhat outside of my typical genre, but I’m glad to have ventured out. I loved the failed biker gang, the imposing good ol’ boy Cannon family crime dynasty, and the subtle, comfortable romance of Judah and Ramey (who, spoiler alert from book 2, is a total badass...). Can’t wait for the final book of the trilogy!
Well, I mean, once the man ate the other man's face down in Florida, we all knew it was a weird place, right? A place where reality often meets....something else. Something bizarre. Something not entirely explainable.
That's what happens in Steph Post's Lightwood. Reality meets...something else in a couple of small, backwater Florida towns, populated with biker dudes and small-time-crime-lords and, well, a church that isn't...quite...normal.
This is crime fiction at its gnarliest. People blow up. People get shot. No one is anyone I'd like to meet on the side of the road (excepting maybe Ramey, although I'm certain she could kick my ass), but somehow you wind up rooting for a few of these ne'er do wells. Each has stolen something from someone else, and no one is innocent, but when a preacher with a penchant for evil-doing almost gets her just desserts...I might have cheered a little.
So. Crime fiction. Gnarly injuries. Really solid action. And the heat of sunny Florida. What could go wrong, am I right?
And that's what is at the heart of Steph Post's writing. Living, breathing characters that have brought you into their world. In the case of "Lightwood" that world is a tale of crime fiction where the dirt gets under your nails.
Larger in scope than the author's first novel (A Tree Born Crooked), this story of rural vice and territorial power struggles features many more characters and complex story angles, all of which Steph Post culminates to a crescendo with masterful skill. She is a gifted writer that places the reader in each situation alongside the characters both in atmosphere and in tone. Each moment of danger, as well as each heartbreak, is palpable and genuine.
If you are a fan of gritty crime fiction that emphasizes strong, full-blooded characters while not sacrificing a moment of entertaining, dramatic plot, then you should read the works of Steph Post. She is, indeed, a remarkable storyteller.