Desperation Road (Hardcover)
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February 2017 Indie Next List
“Russell, just released from an 11-year prison sentence, finds anger and revenge waiting for him on the outside. Maben, homeless, broken, and walking along the interstate in the blazing Mississippi heat toward McComb, is forced to make a decision that puts her and her young daughter on the run from the police. In a desperate moment of chance or fate, Russell and Maben's paths cross, their shared past is revealed, and Russell is left to make the ultimate choice. Smith's novel is mesmerizing from its opening pages; you will have to pace yourself while reading it to fully enjoy and appreciate the pitch-perfect language and descriptions that can only come from one who has a masterful command of storytelling.”
— Matt Kelly (W), Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
An Indie Next Pick
A Barnes & Noble Discover Pick
In the vein of Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone and the works of Ron Rash, a novel set in a tough-and-tumble Mississippi town where drugs, whiskey, guns, and the desire for revenge violently intersect.
For eleven years the clock has been ticking for Russell Gaines as he sits in Parchman Penitentiary in the Mississippi Delta. His sentence is now up, and he believes his debt has been paid. But when he returns home, he soon discovers that revenge lives and breathes all around him.
On the same day that Russell is released from prison, a woman named Maben and her young daughter trudge along the side of the interstate under the punishing summer sun. Desperate and exhausted, the pair spend their last dollar on a room for the night, a night that ends with Maben running through the darkness holding a pistol, and a dead deputy sprawled in the middle o the road in the glow of his own headlights.
With the dawn, destinies collide, and Russell is forced to decide whose life he will save--his own or those of the woman and child.
Delivered in powerful and lyrical prose, Desperation Road is a story of troubled souls twisted with regret and bound by secrets that stretch over the years and across the land.
About the Author
Michael Farris Smith is a native Mississippian who has spent time living abroad in France and Switzerland. He is the recipient of the 2014 Mississippi Author Award and has been awarded the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship, the Transatlantic Review Award for Fiction, and the Alabama Arts Council Fellowship Award for Literature. His short fiction has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his essays have appeared in The New York Times, Catfish Alley, Deep South Magazine, and more. He lives in Columbus, Mississippi, with his wife and two daughters.