Mississippi Books and Writers

May 2003

Note: Prices listed below reflect the publisher's suggested list price. They are subject to change without notice.

Sleep No MoreSleep No More

By Greg Iles

Signet (Paperback, $7.99, ISBN: 0451208765)

Publication date: May 2003

Description from Publishers Weekly :

Iles has written some solid, beautifully constructed thrillers (24 Hours; Dead Sleep), so when his latest seems for page after page to have no logical explanation for its central mystery, we hold on, bide our time and wait for the moment of revelation that will make everything fall into place. Unfortunately, that moment never comes. The puzzle of how a woman who has been dead for 10 years can suddenly appear in the body of another woman turns out not to be a mystery at all. It’s a whole other genre horror or fantasy or science fiction.

Iles fans will certainly enjoy the way he once again brings to piquant life his home turf Natchez and the Mississippi Delta and creates a character with an actual job. John Waters is a petroleum geologist, and the details of his work are carefully rendered. He’s a happily married man of 41 with a bright eight-year-old daughter, although his sex life has all but disappeared in the wake of several disastrous pregnancies. So he’s ready to be pushed over the edge by the sudden appearance of Eve Sumner, a 32-year-old real estate agent who seems to know every intimate detail of Waters’s youthful affair with the late Mallory Candler, a mentally fragile beauty queen who was subsequently raped and murdered in New Orleans.

The game gets really serious when Eve is also murdered. Possibilities abound: John’s weak and financially reckless partner might be behind the whole thing, and even Waters’s embittered wife could be a suspect. Readers will probably stick around to see how Iles gets himself off the hook, but it’s hard to imagine many of them coming away completely satisfied. —Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Sonny Montgomery: The Veteran’s Champion

By G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery with Michael B. Ballard and Craig S. Piper

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $25.00, ISBN: 1578065542)

Publication date: May 2003

Description from the publisher:

The autobiography of the Mississippi Congressman who spearheaded the drive for the revamped G.I. Bill.

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1966, Democrat G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery represented Mississippi’s Third District in Congress for fifteen terms, serving under seven presidents. Sonny Montgomery: The Veteran’s Champion, his autobiography, renders a very personal history of nearly forty years in public life.

Advocacy for veterans, the lodestar of his career, came from personal experience and conviction. In 1945, he helped capture a German machine gun nest and earned the Bronze Star Medal for Valor. With self-effacing humility he recalls World War II and his return to duty in Korea.

Among many accomplishments, he ranks one as his most outstanding. He rallied the votes to pass the bill named for him, The Montgomery G.I. Bill (HR 1657), which overhauled the original 1947 legislation by extending benefits to thousands of soldiers in the nation’s all-volunteer service.

Chairing the select committee on POWs and MIAs, he and investigators determined whether Vietnam, Cambodia, and other theaters of war were holding American servicemen captive.

Montgomery comments on the Presidents he worked with and knew personally—the erratic Richard Nixon, the affable Gerald Ford, the stern Jimmy Carter, and the congenial George H. W. Bush.

During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, Montgomery became a charter member of the “Boll Weevils,” a coterie of southern and other Democrats. He discloses how the group was formed and how and why its members broke party lines to support a Republican President’s legislative agenda.

Now a senior statesman known affectionately on Capitol Hill as “Mr. Veteran,” Montgomery reflects on both his political and personal life, his friendships with Senator John C. Stennis and other powerful figures, and his varied political accomplishments. Sonny Montgomery: The Veteran’s Champion is a fulfilling story of a Mississippi hero invigorated by life in public service.

G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery lives in Meridian, Mississippi, and Washington, D.C., where he is still an active veterans’ advocate.

Michael B. Ballard, coordinator of the Congressional and Political Research Center at Mississippi State University, has published Pemberton: The General Who Lost Vicksburg and Civil War Mississippi: A Guide (both from University Press of Mississippi).

Craig S. Piper is an archivist at the Congressional and Political Research Center at Mississippi State University.

Hell at the BreechHell at the Breech

By Tom Franklin

William Morrow (Hardcover, $23.95, ISBN: 0688167411)

Publication date: May 2003

Description from the publisher:

In 1897, in the rural southwestern area of Alabama known as Mitcham Beat, an aspiring politician is mysteriously murdered. Seeking retribution, his outraged friends—mostly poor cotton farmers—form a secret society, Hell-at-the-Breech, to punish the townspeople they believe are responsible. The hooded members of this gang wage a bloody year-long campaign of terror that culminates in a massacre, where the innocent suffer alongside the guilty.

Caught in the maelstrom of the Mitcham War are four people: the county’s aging sheriff, sympathetic to both sides; the widowed midwife who delivered nearly every member of Hell-at-the-Breech; a ruthless detective who wages his own private war against the gang; and a young store clerk harboring a terrible secret.

Based on incidents that occurred a few miles from the author’s childhood home, Hell at the Breech chronicles the dark events of dark days, events that lead the people involved to discover their capacity for good, for evil, or for both. It is a mesmerizing and unforgettable display of talent by a writer of immeasurable gifts.

“Arguably the most extraordinary first novel to come out of the South since Charles Frazier’s National Book Award-winning Cold Mountain. In one fell swoop, Franklin leaps to the forefront of contemporry Southern writers.” —Orlando Sentinel

Seeking Enlightenment ... Hat to HatSeeking Enlightenment … Hat to Hat: A Skeptic’s Path to Religion

By Nevada Barr

Putnam (Hardcover, $21.95, ISBN: 0399150579)

Publication date: May 2003

Description from Publishers Weekly :

“A life ago,” Barr writes, “I was depressed, broke, homeless, unemployed and divorced.” One evening she wandered into an Episcopal church, primarily because it was unlocked. Desperation, not interest in religion, had brought her there, but warmly accepting parishioners kept her, and soon she wanted to be confirmed. “I went to the priest and asked him if it would be okay considering I didn’t accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior, didn’t believe the Bible was divinely inspired and wasn’t entirely sure about the whole God thing. Fortunately Father Andrew had been tending his flock long enough to recognize a lost lamb when one came bleating into his office and put no obstacles in my way.” It was a turning point for Barr, who here describes the resulting changes in her life and thinking over the last six years. Readers of Barr’s bestselling mystery series featuring park ranger Anna Pigeon might have hoped for a whole book full of enlightenment about Anna’s creator. However, apart from the introduction and occasional anecdotes throughout, her first nonfiction work is more a collection of personal essays than spiritual memoir. In more than 40 short chapters, she looks at topics as varied as forgiveness, girlfriends, being ordinary, Halloween and of course hats, usually saying more about how she thinks life should be lived than about how she actually lives hers. Nevertheless, Barr’s sassy style, self-deprecating sense of humor and trenchant observations make for a good-and, yes, enlightening-read.
—Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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