The story revolves around two mysteries, set apart by a generation: What became of Lila Dane, who walked away from her baby and was never seen again, and of Cheri, the simple-minded friend of Lila's daughter Lucy, whose body is found in pieces, stuffed into the cracks of a tree?
The novel, written in alternating voices that slip and slide across time, commanded my attention for the most part, but began to unravel a little more than halfway through. New narrators are added, some from out of the clear-blue, and a couple of plot developments just felt as though they'd been tacked in sort of willy-nilly. Even so, I was invested enough in knowing the whys and wherefores that I couldn't put it down.
Some other quibbles were that, unlike Woodrell's novels, the sense of place was not terribly pervasive, and there was a dearth of vernacular. That might be an asset to some readers, but not for this one. A writer who uses it judiciously and authentically takes the reader on the full ride, in my estimation.
So, a good read, an interesting couple story lines, some excitement, some good guys, some bad guys, but not much soul.
Spiegel & Grau
Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: March 2014