An Amazon Best Book of the Month
An Indie Next Pick
A Barnes & Noble Discover Pick
One of Southern Living's Best Southern Books of 2017
In the vein of Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone and the works of Ron Rash, a novel set in a tough-and-tumble Mississippi town where drugs, whiskey, guns, and the desire for revenge violently intersect.
For eleven years the clock has been ticking for Russell Gaines as he sits in Parchman Penitentiary in the Mississippi Delta. His sentence is now up, and he believes his debt has been paid. But when he returns home, he soon discovers that revenge lives and breathes all around him.
On the same day that Russell is released from prison, a woman named Maben and her young daughter trudge along the side of the interstate under the punishing summer sun. Desperate and exhausted, the pair spend their last dollar on a room for the night, a night that ends with Maben running through the darkness holding a pistol, and a dead deputy sprawled in the middle o the road in the glow of his own headlights.
With the dawn, destinies collide, and Russell is forced to decide whose life he will save--his own or those of the woman and child.
Delivered in powerful and lyrical prose, Desperation Road is a story of troubled souls twisted with regret and bound by secrets that stretch over the years and across the land.
Like those in his 2013 novel, Rivers, the characters in Smith's latest struggle to put the past behind them but this time, the storms that have torn their lives apart are mostly of their own making. Russell Gaines has served 11 years in prison for killing a man while driving drunk. Released, he rides the bus back to his home in McComb, Miss., only to be beaten and threatened with revenge by the dead man's brothers. That same evening, homeless onetime addict Maben Jones also heads toward McComb. Without cash and transport, she leaves her young daughter, Annalee, sleeping in a cheap motel and tries to turn some tricks in the parking lot. Instead, a deputy abducts and rapes her. Grabbing his gun, Maben shoots him to death and flees the scene. As she tries to protect Annalee and evade capture, her path and Russell's cross but whether they will help or just endanger each other is far from clear. The plot's gritty outlines notwithstanding, Smith is a meticulous craftsman who evokes his protagonists and their world with patience and subtlety. Ultimately, the road of the novel's title moves not just through desperation, but also into a tentative landscape of hope, and perhaps even redemption.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Couldn’t put it down
I came across the book randomly at the library and thought it’d be a good summer read. I finished it in 3 days! I couldn’t put it down, it kept me interested and at the edge of my seat the entire time. The author paints a vivid picture in your mind; this book would make a great movie. Loved it!