Charlie moves to Taper, Florida with his mom and step-dad Mack. Mack is a former hometown football star, and he is hired to coach the high school team when the old coach passes. Taper is down deep in the South, a city full of sugar cane fields, waterways and muck. An old tradition is to chase rabbits out of burning cane fields, and Charlie takes up the tradition with his new-found cousin Cotton. But, Charlie soon learns that strange things live in the muck, things that will kill you and steal your soul. Cotton is caught by one of the muck creatures and brought near to death. The only way to save him is for Charlie to find the lady at the center of the muck and defeat her.
Oh, this is a good one. The cover didn't inspire me much, but when I read the inside book flap my interest was sparked. The book combines the great feelings of living in the South with supernatural elements that I love.
The writing is unique, brilliant and amazing. The way the author begins the story, weaving in elements and feelings of the South, you feel as if you are in Taper, Florida. But then, small little inconsistencies occur. There is a strange man in battle armor in the muck, a round stone where creatures rest and die, and then a muck monster that smells of decay and hate. The story slowly moves into a paranormal realm right in the middle of the South.
As the paranormal story progresses, Charlie's world turns dire. He begins to learn that the secrets of the muck have existed for hundreds of years, and that for nearly that long, people and dead bodies have gone missing. Charlie also learns of the long struggle that continues as good battles evil. I found it interesting that the evil had flourished, while the good was down to a single widow and a soldier.
There is also a side plot involving Charlie's real dad, another high school football hero. Unlike Mack, Charlie's dad let fame go to his head and became a hateful drunk. The writer delves into the feelings of Charlie, his mom, and the father. As the story progresses we get a good look at a man trying to redeem himself.
I highly recommend this book to readers. 5 stars!