Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Haint Blue

Haint Blue, Carl Linke, Philip-Forest Publishing, 2010

Set in present-day South Carolina, this novel is about a man pushed in several different direstions at the same time. Hoodoo is one of those directions.

Kip Drummond is the owner of an oyster-processing plant in Beaufort, South Carolina. It's a ramshackle place, and a money loser, but it's also sitting on a very prime piece of real estate. That is why Taggett & Vystroon, an American subsidiary of a Japanese multi-national corporation, is pushing very hard to buy Drummond out.

The plant, full of rumors, is the only source of income for the older women who work there. Being poor, and Gullah (descended from slaves), there are no alternatives for them if the plant is sold. Gunny, the black manager of the plant, does some snooping in Drummond's office, and finds just enough evidence to make Drummond's repeated declarations that he has no intention of selling the plant hard to believe.

Things are no better for Drummond at home. His wife, Sandi, a native of Charleston, is a blond bombshell. She comes from Old Money, and is sick of the lack of parties and culture in Beaufort. Drummond has a terrible record of spending time with Chris, his stepson, along with attending his football games. There is always something to take care of at the plant. As if that wasn't enough, Drummond thinks that someone has put a hex on him (taken very seriously among the Gullah) to force him to sell.

He pays a couple of visits to a tarot card reader, an elderly woman who lives far away from anyone else. He finds a very specific playing card (not just any playing card) under the windshield wiper of his truck. His faithful dog is found butchered and dismembered. A major rainstrom, practically a hurricane, hits the area during one of Chris' football games. In all the confusion, Chris is missing; his parents can't help but fear the worst. Drummond and his lawyer are called to Taggett & Vystroon's corporate offices in Philadelphia to negotiate the plant's sale. When Drummond gets back to Beaufort, he comes clean to Gunny about just how he got the money to buy the plant.

This is a very well-done story about a culture unique to most Americans. The author does a fine job putting the reader right in the middle of the story. Yes, it's worth reading.

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