Sweetwater Blues

Sweetwater Blues

by Raymond L. Atkins

Overview: Rodney Earwood and Palmer Cray had been best friends for as long as either could remember. They were brothers in all but the genetic sense, each born late in the lives of good women who had given up on the dream of motherhood by the time their respective miracles occurred. They wandered the hills of North Georgia, hunted the pine woods, fished the cool, green streams, and camped under the stars. They shared each other's clothing, each other's families, and each other's homes. They grew into tall young men, and on a hot May afternoon right after they turned eighteen, they both graduated from Sweetwater High School, numbers seven and eight in the crooked, sweaty line that held a class of thirty of Sweetwater's finest. Shortly thereafter, Rodney and Palmer flew a Camaro into a tree, Palmer flew into a haystack, Rodney flew into the great beyond, and nothing in Sweetwater was ever the same again.

Judy Stanton (07/03/16):Sweetwater is a little town in Georgia where Palmer Cray and Rodney Earwood grew up. Sadly, Palmer kills his best friend in a car accident caused by DUI. The book is Palmer's story starting about age 18. The chapters of his years in jail seemed slow and dreary, and left me wondering if that was a purposeful way for the author to have the reader experience the feeling of losing your freedom and your way of life. Palmer and his cell mate, Cheddar, are well developed characters and the author shows you that criminals can have redeeming virtues. For me, the book picked up interest once Palmer was released from jail, and fills his life with helping others, in redemption for his crime. Although perhaps too neatly stitched up at the end, it is a worthwhile, week-written read.
Rating: ****

Rona Simmons (02/10/16): When you read the sentence "It's like there's a pack of crazy dogs in my head ripping off little pieces of my brain" on page 3 you know you are in for a ride. I cherished every mile and wished the journey did not have to end. Given how many fine books there are on my to be read list, I rarely allow myself the luxury of reading more than one book by an author. Ray Atkins just made my exception list. "Southern" writing at its best.
Rating: *****

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