Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
The Edgar Award-winning author of Chiefs (basis of a TV miniseries) and the bestselling Deep Lie now offers a highly readable if somewhat overheated thriller-cum-gothic that includes murder, drug smuggling, faith healing, hallucinations, revenants and incest. A one-time ace reporter rents a cabin in a backwoods Georgia town, then stumbles upon and determines to solve the town mystery, which involves a seemingly affable sheriff, an autocratic town father and an incest-ridden family whose once-prosperous farm now lies under a lake. He joins forces with a plucky female reporter bent on proving that the sheriff is ``dirty,'' and there's never a dull moment as the story surges toward its exciting climax. The conclusion is a little too far-fetchedbut by that time readers have had more than their money's worth. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. (May 18) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Book Review
Woods' best novel since Chiefs (1981) halts his downhill slide (Deep Lie, Run Before the Wind) by returning to the deep South of that blockbuster for an entertaining mixture of gothic mystery and ghost story. Strong, endearing characters form the backbone of this involved tale. Foremost is burnt-out journalist John Howell, who in order to ghostwrite the autobiography of a fried-chicken mogul moves to a lakeside cabin in a small Georgia town. There he runs across cub-reporter pal Scotty MacDonald (one of Woods' most winsome female creations), who's working incognito in the sheriff's office. On a tip that he's a drug-runner, she's checking out big and burly Sheriff Bo Scully, who, despite being the villain here, earns sympathy through Woods' sensitive treatment of him as a tragic, rather than evil, figure. An ever-nosy Howell agrees to aid Scotty in her sleuthing (especially after he starts sleeping with her), but he soon gets sidetracked in a mystery of his own: during his first night at the cabin, the ghost of a young girl appears, staring out at the lake. From some locals Howell learns that at lake's bottom rests a house flooded over when the lake was created 30 years before; he also hears rumors that the house's occupants may have drowned in the flood. Howell visits a neighboring hick family whose matriarch, a psychic faith-healer of great kindness, welcomes him as a savior come to right a great wrong. Meanwhile, Scotty scrambles through several suspenseful scenes to keep Scully from guessing her real identity. To get him off the track, and to get the loving that she, an orphan, constantly needs, she sleeps with him: an indulgence that proves a real embarrassment when she later not only confirms his drug dealing but learns--in a coincidence that mars but doesn't spoil the exciting finale--that he's a blood relation. Now aware of Scotty's prying, a drunk Scully reveals to her and Howell the dark secret behind the submerged house. He then aims his gun to kill them both, but in the nick of time ghostly help comes to the rescue. First-rate storytelling, with lived-in characters and an engrossing, twisty storyline: a welcome comeback for Woods. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.