There is fire, and the constant creep of cane. There is football, and a white church, and an empty graveyard. And there is the muck. Swollen with bodies but always hungry, the muck has swallowed slaves and captured conquistadors. If you are not quick, it will swallow you too.
Charlie is just a visitor to Taper, the small town where both his dad and his stepdad lived. He does not know or care what secrets reside in the deep belly of the Florida swamps. And yet when his step-cousin "Cotton" Mack takes him into the muck he follows. But there are horrors in the muck that even Cotton has yet to discover. Things walk that should be dead. Stench and filth carry anger and envy.
As the shadows grow and the world dances in fire and sparks around them, Cotton and Charlie will have to run faster than they've ever run before. They will have to be quick. They will have to blur.
Boys of Blur is N.D. Wilson's leanest and shortest novel yet, clocking in at 195 pages. Unlike some of his novels, which can feel a bit fractured, Boys of Blur is tightly woven and intensely atmospheric. The Florida heat sizzles, the muck oozes and squishes, the burning cane smoke scratches at your lungs, and the things that lurk in the swamp are as convincing a part of the atmosphere as cold soda and football.
N.D. Wilson has seamlessly blended the two genres of the heroic epic and the typical American boy adventure story. He pairs Florida swamps with Beowulf, fractured families with monsters, football with ancient muck magic.
While the muck and the monsters are the conflict of the story, Charlie and his family are the heart. His brave mother Natalie, who picked up her son and ran from an abusive husband; his kind stepfather Mack who accepted Charlie as his own son; his smart and witty cousin Cotton who was quick to befriend him. Parents always have a role to play in N.D. Wilson novels, and Boys of Blur is no exception, adding emotion and depth to the story.
So run. Be quick. (Remember, you're quick or you're dead.) Boys of Blur is a thrilling and creepy novel that is definitely one of N.D. Wilson's best to date. Don't miss out. (And don't stop running.)
Boys of Blur | Official Trailer from Gorilla Poet Productions on Vimeo.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here
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