Recently, I stumbled across this impressive piece of Southern fiction that made me stop in my tracks. First, I liked the cover. Then, I noticed a blurb written by Pat Conroy. He told me to buy it, read it. I trust Conroy.
MAN IN THE BLUE MOON by Michael Morris is story-telling at its best. He’s managed to capture the small rural town of Dead Lakes, Florida and its inhabitants to a T.
Ella Wallace became a single mother raising three sons, overnight. Her husband of many years went missing suddenly after an altercation. Harlan Wallace had turned into an opium addict. Not only was he a total loser, who had slowly taken every ounce of money and love Ella had to give, but Ella discovered Harlan had also mortgaged their property to the hilt. Then left without a trace.
Clive Gillespie, the acne-scarred banker who holds the mortgage on Ella’s property literally over her head, is every woman’s nightmare. And he is putting the squeeze on her to pay up or get out. Clive holds a mean grudge against Ella for spurning his advances and is determined not to give her any sort of break.
Along comes a stranger who ends up being Harlan’s cousin. He enters the story in an unorthodox manner to be sure. And brings with him an entire new set of problems and may just be adding to the fuel that is already firing this family.
There are parts of this amazing story that bring to mind Stephen King’s THE GREEN MILE. I don’t say this lightly. I loved THE GREEN MILE. It is my favorite of King’s books. And THE MAN IN THE BLUE MOON has shades of it throughout. There is questionable healing ability that piques much interest. And such memorable characters that will stay will you long after the last page has been turned.
I have driven the back roads of Florida. Some of the small towns are still stuck in the last century in more ways than one. Morris has managed to capture the mood of this rural area in Northern Florida with simplicity and great emotion. Not to mention attention to detail so critical to the story being so believable.
Imagine my surprise to discover that this novel is based on a true story. There is nothing I like more than to find the author has been able to take something from his or her family and use it to create a fantastic novel. It just adds so much.
I am totally convinced that Michael Morris is destined to be one of the best Southern writers we have today. It will be my pleasure to help promote this amazing book and author. And I am looking forward to reading more by this talented author. Morris has three other books: A PLACE CALLED WIREGRASS; SLOW WAY HOME; LIVE LIKE YOU WERE DYING.
Thanks go out to the people at Tynedale publishing for supplying my very special copy.