Justin Everson is a sheriff’s deputy in his hometown on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Things aren’t that great in St. Vincent these days. Things are weak, diluted, poor. Things are a tangled, stinkin’ mess. The recession has crippled the mill town, leaving it reeking with the odor of the paper mill and the odor of poverty and the odor of death.
Everson can’t sleep. He can’t stop thinking about his wife’s death, a death that left him confused about his life. Insomnia stalks him, pushing him into a fog, a mental state somewhere between reality and sleep. When Donnie Ray Miles is found drowned, Everson suspects foul play. The deputy carries no love for Miles, an Iraqi vet who came home under mysterious circumstances, but he does want to know the truth about Donnie Ray Miles’ time in the Army and the details of his death. As Everson investigates, his insomnia worsens, bringing with it visions of the dead.
Author Jeff Newberry writes about person and place with ease. He is intimate with the Gulf Coast and he pulls that intimacy into his prose. The story is raw, solid, and woven with mystery.
Good job, Newberry. Good job.
Review by Brenda Sutton Rose
Author of DOGWOOD BLUES