In the Ozarks, what you are is where you are born. If you're born in Venus Holler, you're not much. For Jamalee Merridew, her hair tomato red with rage and ambition, Venus Holler just won't cut it. Jamalee sees her brother, Jason, blessed with drop-dead gorgeous looks and the local object of female obsession, as her ticket out of town. But Jason may just be gay, and in the hills and hollows of the Ozarks, that is the most dangerous and courageous thing a man could be.
Enter Sammy Barlach, a loser ex-con passing through a tired nowhere on the way to a fresher nowhere. Jamalee thinks Sammy is just the kind of muscle she and Jason need.
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A great addicting read.
When I began reading this book, I was transported to another place, which is what happened with the previous Daniel Woodrell novel I'd read. The location of this book is hot and stifling and miserable. The characters are flawed and interesting. The main character in particularly consistent in this way, which drives the plot. He is also the narrator of the story so you become carried away with his circumstances right along with him. Very quickly there I was, all ready to sit on a back porch in 90 degree heat with dirty jeans and my shirt off my back, trying to figure out my fate while bumming off a beer from somebody, when it did occur to me that I am actually a woman in very cool climate who has no back porch and does not drink beer and must keep her shirt on. Such is the magic of this novel.
The narrator was the highlight of this story. His acting abilities were clear (on top of his enjoyable voice). He was very skilled at doing female voices, which I find that many male narrators struggle to do well.
I liked that the book is fairly short compared to many fiction novels out there today.
- Jacki Flynn