Early Review – Cry Father by Benjamin Whitmer

September 12, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 0 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Cry Father by Benjamin WhitmerCry Father by Benjamin Whitmer
Published by Gallery Books on September 16th 2014
Pages: 320
Genres: Southern Gothic/Country Noir
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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three-half-stars

In the tradition of Cormac McCarthy and Larry Brown comes a haunting story about men, their fathers, their sons, and the legacy of violence.

For Patterson Wells, disaster is the norm. Working alongside dangerous, desperate, itinerant men as a tree clearer in disaster zones, he’s still dealing with the loss of his young son. Writing letters to the boy offers some solace. The bottle gives more.

Upon a return trip to Colorado, Patterson stops to go fishing with an old acquaintance, only to find him in a meth-induced delirium and keeping a woman tied up in the bathtub. In the ensuing chain of events, which will test not only his future but his past, Patterson tries to do the right thing. Still, in the lives of those he knows, violence and justice have made of each other strange, intoxicating bedfellows.

Hailed as "the next great American writer" (Frank Bill, author of Crimes in Southern Indiana), Benjamin Whitmer has crafted a literary triumph that is by turns harrowing, darkly comic, and wise.

“It’s been a hell of a summer for your drinking.”
“It’s been a hell of a summer,” he says, without looking at Patterson.

Patterson Wells is a tree trimmer in disaster zones and is returning home from a job when he stops off to see his friend Chase. He finds Chase “working on a heap of crystal meth the size of his shrunken head.” He also finds a woman hogtied in the bathtub. He sets her free and leaves Chase to work on his heap of meth but this single incident sets in motion a string of violent events that will leave a horrible and indelible mark on his life.

‘I still feel like I’m telling you stories, like it’s the only thing between you being here and not being here. That’s something I have to hold on to, you being here. If I don’t tell you these stories, I got nothing. if I stop, you’re gone.’

Wells has become a man without a purpose, ambling through life, after the death of his son. In order to ease the pain of his absence, he writes in a journal, pretending that he’s telling these stories to his son. These stories succeed in also providing Patterson’s back story and the sequence of events that brought him to this point in his life. When the writing doesn’t quite work to put him at ease he reaches for the bottle which happens more often than not. Not being comfortable with his solidarity, he becomes friends with a drug runner by the name of Junior that gets him far more trouble than he could have ever guessed. What proceeds is extreme gratuitous violence all conducted through the haze of massive amounts of drugs and alcohol.

‘The thought that he’ll probably end up facing a murder charge if he is pulled over does occur to him, but there’s no stopping it. Turns out there’s no better medicine for heartache than surviving a murder attempt and stealing a car.’

If you’re able to see past the violence (serious, there’s a shit ton of it, including animal violence for those that like to be warned) and not let it blur your vision, you’ll find there’s a captivating and well-written story of a man without anything to live for buried beneath it all. This is one for all southern gothic/country noir fans; fans of Donald Ray Pollock, Cormac McCarthy and Daniel Woodrell.

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock {PurchaseMy Review}
Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell {PurchaseMy Review}
Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy {Purchase}

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