In The Country Dark: An Appalachian Crime Tale

In The Country Dark by Mike Mallow follows an investigation into the dark recesses of a small town under the grips of one dismal El Oscura, also known as the Recluse. Cabel Walsh is a journalist who loves his profession despite being part of a sinking ship of an industry. Troy Mason is a wild card with a bit of a temper issue, and he works as a nursing assistant in a residential home. Troy and Cabel used to be buddies in high school, and are soon reunited when circumstances force Cabel  back to the small town. There, he discovers a thread of traumas and losses all leading up to an insidious and implacable villain: El Oscura

It’s clear that the author has firsthand experience in the terrains in which this story takes place. It’s a pleasure to read- not only for the plot but also the shared experience of another life that could potentially be so vastly different from one’s own. The characters and dialogues are also perfectly natural yet distinct.

Troy and Cabel’s friendship was also particularly heartwarming, the way they managed to not overcome, but rather acknowledge and respect their different perspectives on life and bond over their upbringing in Chancy. Hence, the sucker punch that comes pretty soon into the book is even more ferocious.

It’s a clever and suspenseful build-up towards the climax, when the face-off between El Oscuro and Cabel calls into question Cabel’s integrity and his steadiness in a personal crisis. I’m prone to comparing most man-gone-rogue thrillers I read to the best in their kind: Lee Child, John Grisham, Frederick Forsyth et. al. (in my opinion of course) and I genuinely thought this could pose some serious competition. It has all the best elements: a breakneck pace, an unforgiving and sometimes cruel environment, some form of drug-based conspiracy, and a can’t-help-but-love-him disillusioned man at the center. This is not to make it sound cliche- it’s rare that all the elements work together in harmony to make a perfectly entertaining and delicious novel such as this one. I truly look forward to whatever Mike Mallow has to offer next.

Pages: 226 | ASIN: B08DRN84TH

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About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on August 11, 2020, in Book Reviews, Five Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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