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Review: The Whiskey Baron

May 23, 2014

The Whiskey Baron

Sheriff Furman Chambers is called to investigate when two men are murdered in the street in front of the Hillside Inn, which is where Larthan Tull serves up illegal liquor.  Witnesses tell the sheriff that a man named Mary Jane Hopewell forced the two men into the street, shot them, and fled.

Set during Prohibition, the investigation leads the sheriff into the heart of an illegal whiskey operation where he discovers the whiskey baron who doesn’t mind taking out anyone who gets in his way.

The Whiskey Baron by Jon Sealy is a beautifully written, atmospheric book set in South Carolina towards the end of Prohibition.  I appreciated Sealy’s writing – it made me feel like I was back in 1932 – but I felt like it got in the way of the story a time or two.  I will be reading whatever Sealy writes next, though, because I’m sure he’s an up and coming Southern author.

The characters and storyline in this book were both terrific.  It took me a little while to get used to a male character named Mary Jane (it’s a nickname) but once I did, it felt right.  I was fascinated by the world of black market liquor but wasn’t too surprised by the shady characters who inhabited it.  The book gave me a lot to talk about so I think it would be great for book clubs.

If you enjoy Southern fiction that’s a little dark, The Whiskey Baron is for you!

Review copy provided by Hub City Press.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.


19 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2014 6:12 am

    Thanks for your review. (Odd nickname for a man.)

  2. May 23, 2014 7:00 am

    I couldn’t get over the name either.

  3. May 23, 2014 7:19 am

    The time and place would draw me in, too.

  4. May 23, 2014 7:24 am

    Sounds a bit like the Franklin book, The Tilted World. Good topic for fiction!

  5. May 23, 2014 8:50 am

    I’m not big on the prohibition time period, but this one sounds good.

  6. May 23, 2014 3:16 pm

    I might be in the mood for this one at some point – but I really have to be in the mood to read a book that’s dark.

  7. May 23, 2014 3:59 pm

    This does sound intriguing! I think my husband will enjoy this one.

  8. sandynawrot permalink
    May 23, 2014 4:08 pm

    Jill is right, it does sound very similar to The Tilted World, except I think TTW takes place a little earlier. It is a fascinating time period!

  9. Patty permalink
    May 23, 2014 5:25 pm

    This is a new book for me but it sounds very good!

  10. boardinginmyforties permalink
    May 23, 2014 8:11 pm

    I think I would enjoy this one. My grandmother cooked up moonshine in Kentucky during prohibition and I have always been curious about this time period.

  11. May 23, 2014 9:24 pm

    Like the time frame and setting of the novel.

  12. May 24, 2014 12:11 am

    Sounds intriguing! I don’t mind a little dark, so I’ll keep this one in mind.

  13. May 24, 2014 6:43 pm

    I like stories that are a bit dark. Sounds interesting!

  14. May 24, 2014 11:22 pm

    I’ve heard of a boy named Sue, but Mary Jane would take getting used to. This sounds like really good, edgy Southern fiction. Terrific review, Kathy!

  15. May 25, 2014 8:39 pm

    Mary Jane as a man would take me a bit to get used to! Good to see you’ve found a new southern writer 🙂

  16. May 26, 2014 9:19 am

    I hadn’t heard of this book before. A little different than what I usually read, but it sounds good.

  17. May 27, 2014 10:54 am

    I’m thinking I would like this one.

  18. May 28, 2014 3:56 pm

    I like the sound if this one. There’s nothing like a good southern atmospheric novel for summertime reading.

  19. bookingmama permalink
    June 9, 2014 11:54 am

    Not sure this one is for me but it doesn’t like the writing is something special.

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