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Chris High books reviewed

Front cover of the book, Hard Twisted by C Joseph Greaves

Hard Twisted
C Joseph Greaves

Paperback: 336 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus
ISBN-10: 140882924X
ISBN-13: 978-1408829240

November 8, 2012.

With delectable descriptions that place the reader not only back in 1930’s America but also right alongside the main protagonists, Lucille and Clint, Hard Twisted is one of the most gorgeously drawn novels of the year.

Lucile Garrett is just thirteen when she meets Clint Palmer, a charismatic stranger who will forever change her life. The year is 1934, and as the windblown dust of the Great Depression rakes the Oklahoma plains, Palmer offers Lucile and her father, homeless and hungry, the irresistible promise of a better future. But when they follow Palmer to Texas, Lucile's father mysteriously disappears, launching man and girl on an epic journey through the American Southwest: a spree of violence and murder that culminates in one of the most celebrated criminal trials of the era.

The prose are bordering poetic as the story meanders from town-to-town and state-to-state, with every location being painted with the delightfully manoeuvred brush of a master craftsman so that their similarity and uniqueness blend and so become a vibrant portrait of the bleakest of times.

The characters, too – particularly Lucile – are a joy despite the predicaments each faces and the sexual content the storyline confronts. This is based on a true story and is a novel which took Greaves eighteen years to complete, yet there is no sense of preaching about the morality of the scenarios but, instead, an abundance of honest dyed-in-the-wool storytelling talent that will lead many to compare Hard Twisted and its author being compared with works by the likes of Dennis Lehane.

The style may take a little getting used to, but this in turn eventually leads to the pace of the book being bullet quick and glass-shard sharp so that the reader can – on occasion – feel themselves physically flinch.

Indeed, if there is one complaint it lies in the way the denouement is presented which can be said to be done and dusted in all too short a time and in an expositional manner that belies the foregoing craft of the book.   

This said, however, Hard Twisted remains one of the reads of 2012 and Greaves debut is set fast to herald a new master to the Crime Fiction stable.
Chris High


 


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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