One of the pleasures of my meager success in the publishing world is having the opportunity to rub shoulders with other up and coming talented authors. Heath Lowrance is one of those authors.
His book The Bastard Hand should be on every crime fiction and noir lover's summer and vacation reading list. The pages turn themselves and it is a potpourri of elements from fire and brimstone preachers, supernatural drifters, gun toting gangsters, corrupt small town officials and much more.
Charlie, the main character is reminiscent of the losers who populate the hard-boiled novels of the past. What makes him different from past noir characters is that there is the opportunity and a tangled willingness for redemption.
Heath also really nailed the southern atmosphere and did not insult our intelligence with all the usual cliches. Along with that, he did an excellent job of using a topic such as incest to skillfully advance the story.
I also appreciated the fact that he gave us limited back story on the Reverend Phineas. He trusted and let the reader fill in the details of this vile creature's past.
The Bastard Hand is has some very grisly scenes. However, Lowrance never went over the top and some of those scenes were very metaphoric and brutally poetic. My favorite of those would be the two dogs fighting over the road kill on the country road. To me that summed up the power struggle and the turmoil of the story.
I would love to see a publishing house like Stark House Noir pick this one up and do a paperback release of it. It belongs right up there on the shelf with the likes of Dave Goodis, Jim Thompson, James M. Cain... and we all know the rest of list. Purchase The Bastard Hand on Amazon Kindle. www.amazon.com