Monday, October 10, 2011

The Bastard Hand by Heath Lowrance

After Charlie Wesley gives the psych hospital the slip, he decides to head down to Florida to start his life over. Charlie is a curious character. His brother is dead but he talks to him inside his head, and he’s got this bizarre notion that his hands are glowing bright yellow. He also has a unique ability to heal himself—knife wounds, bullets, and severe beatings, hardly slow him down. After he meets another equally odd character named Reverend Childe, a charismatic but sketchy Baptist minister with a hidden agenda and more than a his share of vices, Charlie takes a detour in his plans and ends up travelling with him to a little Mississippi town called Cuba Landing. There Charlie finds himself smack in the middle of a mystery; the strange disappearance of the church’s former Reverend whom his new buddy Childe, has come to replace.

Charlie’s direction in life seems vague at best, and he’s also a lousy judge of character, getting himself involved with some street gang who ends up trying to kill him. This dire combination is what seems to keep getting Charlie in hot water. I found myself a little frustrated with his choices and trying to understand what motivates him, and then I’d remember, oh yeah, he’s not playing with a full deck. That explains everything. But eventually it begins to feel like Charlie is actually the only sane one in Cuba Landing and everyone else is nuts.

I had two other books I was reading at the same time but damn if I couldn’t put this one down until it was finished! The writing is superb, provocative. The story fascinating, original, and offbeat. Highly recommended.

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  1. A great debut novel. Highly recommended.

  2. Offbeat is a good way to put it. Cuba Landing is a haunting place.