November 25, 2020

#BookReview: Hard Times by Les Edgerton

Synopsis: In 1930s East Texas, fourteen-year-old Amelia Laxault's father insists she marry Arnold Critchin, a local boy who assaulted her on their first date. When Arnold's alcohol-fueled brutality devastates their family, his ineptitude with crops destroys their farm, and his poorly run moonshine business lands him in prison, Amelia struggles to feed her four children as the Depression worsens and a secret from her past looms large.

Three hundred miles away, Lucious Tremaine tangles with a white police officer. Fleeing to Houston, a second altercation leaves him with a gunshot wound. Desperate and weak, he makes his way into the backwoods.

As Lucious encounters increasing obstacles and Amelia's challenges escalate with Arnold's return from prison-and a visit from her first love, who is now the local sheriff- an explosion looms. Will Lucious make it to Houston? Can Amelia save her children from both starvation and Arnold's increasing, vengeful violence? As the odds stack up and the food runs out, Amelia must summon all her courage, strength, and ingenuity to attempt to save her family.


Rating: ⭐
My Review: Unfortunately, this one just wasn't for me. The characters were kind of one sided in my eyes and the story just felt like it was missing emotion.  I ended up giving up with this one less than half way in. 


"With Hard Times, Les Edgerton has accomplished what few writers can: He's created a time and a place, depression era Texas, and populated it with characters so real they explode off the page. In this heart-wrenching gem of a book, Edgerton once again proves his masterful touch creating characters on the margins of society, often forgotten, almost always dismissed. Hard Times has the heart and soul of a novel you'll want to read more than once." 

-Charles Salzberg, 2-Time Shamus Award nominee, author of the award-winning Second Story Man

"Hard Times is the best country noir I've read in a long while. A knife-edged, cold-eyed story of love and hate at their most visceral, it's worthy of a place of pride on the shelf next to William Gay and Daniel Woodrell." 

-Scott Phillips, author of Ice Harvest and That Left Turn at Albuquerque

"Hard Times by Les Edgerton paints a vivid, heart-rending story of rural America and a valiant woman's desperation. Impossible to put down. A courageous masterpiece!" 

-Jack Getze, author of Making Hearts

About the Author

Les Edgerton is the author of more than 20 books as well as numerous short stories and screenplays. His work has been nominated for or awarded the Pushcart Prize, O. Henry Award, PEN/ Faulkner Award, Derringer Award, Spinetingler Magazine Thriller of the Year, Jesse Jones Book Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award, Violet Crown Book Award, the Nicholl Foundation Script-Writing Awards and the Best of Austin and Writer's Guild screenwriting awards. An acclaimed and award-winning former hairstylist and television fashion program host, he now teaches creative writing courses at many universities and professional writing programs. He also served two years at the Pendleton Correctional Facility on a burglary conviction in the 1960s. He is completely reformed now and you can have him over for dinner at your house and won't have to count the silverware when he leaves.

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 Disclaimer: "All opinions are 100% honest and my own."  Thanks to Goodreads and Amazon for the book cover, about the book, and author information. Buying via these links allows my site to get a % of the sale at no cost to you. 

FTC Guidelines: In accordance with FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials for bloggers, I would like my readers to know that many of the books I review are provided to me for free by the publisher or author of the book in exchange for an honest review. If am compensated for any reviews on this site I will state that post has been sponsored. 


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