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Parade of Horribles Paperback – March 21, 2017
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About the Author
Rhett DeVane is the author of six published mainstream fiction novels: The Madhatter's Guide to Chocolate, Up the Devil's Belly, Mama’s Comfort Food, Cathead Crazy, Suicide Supper Club, and Secondhand Sister. She is the coauthor of two novels: Evenings on Dark Island with Larry Rock and Accidental Ambition with Robert W. McKnight. She also authored middle grade fantasy, Elsbeth and Sim and Dig Within, the first two books in the “Tales from The Emerald Mountains” series. Suicide Supper Club received the 2014 President’s Award from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. Rhett is a Florida native, originally from Chattahoochee. Her hometown, a small North Florida berg with a state mental institution on the main drag, serves as the colorful setting for her Southern fiction series. For the past thirty-plus years, Rhett has made her home in Tallahassee, located in Florida’s Big Bend area, where she splits her time between her dental hygiene practice and writing fiction.
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Top customer reviews
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Rhett DeVane is very adept at evoking emotions. I laughed out loud. I was incensed by unjust perceptions and actions. I was intrigued by the story's mystery. And I was happy and comforted by the ending.
I look forward to learning more about the families and characters I've met in Parade of Horror as I read more of Ms. DeVane's novels.
Beneath a tapestry of deftly woven southern humor, DeVane has crafted a bittersweet cautionary tale of the human toll taken by those less-than-benign changes in the world around us, while avoiding the trap of turning her characters into bumpkins or technophobes. In fact, the novel’s scariest element is the stream of graphic, bullying texts received by gentle florist Jake Witherspoon, a man who still carries the physical and psychological scars from a brutal attack many years ago.
As in her previous books, DeVane highlights the humanity and dignity of her characters, but never denies them their quirks, southern patios or silliness, creating an environment where beehive hairdos, rabid raccoons, gossipy biddies and crazy-ass local festivals provide the laugh-out-loud backdrop for her underlying message: no matter the challenge, you can get through it if you have enough friends, love and cheesy-grits casseroles.
Do Elvina Houston, Hattie Lewis and Jake Witherspoon really live there? Probably not. But they are so real in "Parade of Horribles" that--in telling their story--DeVane has seemingly conjured them out of the cosmos and placed them there, 37 miles west of Tallahassee as the crow flies, alongside the Apalachicola River. A notable feature in the town, the river is a figurative and literal feature in DeVane's well-told story. It's both a haunting reminder of old wounds and a restful escape from the 24/7 preparations for the upcoming harvest festivals and a growing number of signs there may be a dangerous serpent in this Garden of Eden.
DeVane hints at the danger early on the way Hitchcock would show a trace of something wrong near the beginning of his feature films. But the townspeople's attention and the reader's attention are drawn to the mix of daily life and harvest festival duties. The horribles, as Jake thinks of them, steep like tea half forgotten on a back burner and, as the story moves toward its unexpected ending, grows all the stronger and more foul tasting for the wait.
"Parade of Horribles" is the seventh book in the "Hooch Series." As we saw in earlier novels such as "Cathead Crazy" and "Mama's Comfort Food," this very Southern author deftly captures the way people in her panhandle world think, talk, work, support each other--and, yes--gossip about what's in plain sight and what's not yet apparent to everyone else. Residents of the Florida Panhandle know that in many ways it's a country unto itself, not like south Georgia and even further and farther removed from the snowbirds and tourist destinations of the peninsula.
Reading DeVane's Hooch Series is an immersion into this country; "Parade of Horribles" is wonderful mystery/thriller and a highly recommended addition to a body of work that makes "the other Florida" and "Florida's forgotten coast" altogether real and impossible to forget.