An explosive novel packed with dynamite drama!
A refreshing voice of fiction sounds across the Deep South’s landscape; that of multi-genre author, John Tucker.
I didn’t know who the heck John Tucker was, until I stumbled across his books on Amazon. But that’s part of the fun in discovering new authors, scavenging around through the different genres. The title, Splits in the Skin, caught my eye, and after reading the preview pages, I was hooked by the author’s style and the content of his story.
It’s true what they say about the glamour of Georgia and the allure of Atlanta, but when John Tucker peeled back the outer skin, some hidden truths of Georgia broke out, beginning on page one of Splits in the Skin.
As a reader I soon found myself riding in the car of bounty hunter, Ellis Hardigree, going somewhere unknown to me. Heck, I wasn’t even sure the bounty hunter knew where we were going. I had the distinct impression that he was the kind of guy who acted first and planned later. That should have been fair warning of the gaggle of characters I would soon be meeting.
As the skyline of Atlanta began to shrink in the passenger’s side view mirror, I turned and looked at the stretch of road ahead, lined with smaller houses, interspersed with out-of-date trailers, and a couple of tar-papered “churches” along the way. A step back in time. Throw in a few roadside stands selling peaches, pecans, and peanuts and you’ve got another authentic side of Georgia. With an environment like that, surely nothing good could become of this story. But the author knows what to do with those ingredients and more.
Tucker has bundled together characters flawed to hell and back, but they all had one thing in common, an agenda. Different agendas. Burning agendas driven by their own individual wants. And that is an explosive mixture. The kind I enjoy as a reader. His characters remind me of the quirkiness of characters from Justified, the ever-popular TV series based on the work of the late Elmore Leonard. Yes, I think Tucker is that good. He deftly places his characters in position and the thrills spill forth.
The author balances the unfolding drama in such a manner that you’re never sure which way the story will swing next. I tried a number of times out-guessing the storyline, but couldn’t. I like for an author to keep me guessing until the last few pages of a novel. And Tucker does that.
With over a million words in the English language, Tucker has mastered word choice like an artist selecting paints for her canvas. With Tucker’s word selection, as a reader, you’ll taste the bubblegum-flavored kiss the bounty hunter stole from that sexy blonde “Georgia peach.” And you’ll feel the heated passion in the kisses he shared in the dark of night with another cuddly “peach.” That was one thing the bounty hunter had a plan for. A bounty hunter who could distinguish between prey and booty.
As a reader I could “feel” and “sense” the emotional drama unfolding, through the honed words of the author, as the agendas continued to swirl and coalesce in an explosive mix of energy. I found Tucker’s writing more arousing than any five-hour energy drink on the market. Splits in the Skin will keep you awake non-stop.
And Tucker’s pacing of Splits in the Skin was just right. Sometimes it was as fast and risky as an ole fashion Georgia red clay race track on a sweaty Saturday night. Other times the flow was like a spring breeze across the Georgia hills. Just long enough for the reader to catch one’s breath, before all hell breaks loose again.
There is another touchy element of Tucker’s drama/thriller that paws and growls for attention. It’s a taboo topic, which I won’t mention, and some writer’s avoid it, but not this author. Another reason for me to like Tucker’s work. He’s bold. He handles the taboo issue skillfully, letting it boil and fester through the actions and thoughts of his characters, giving equal exposure to opposing forces and feelings, letting the merits and resilience of ideas and beliefs seek resolution and redemption in the market place of good and evil. Ultimately, as the reader, I was left with a rich story to ponder and wonder about.
When I finished Splits in the Skin, I slipped my copy onto my bookshelf alongside Margaret Mitchell, Pat Conroy, Anne Rivers Siddons. Yes, I enjoyed Tucker that much. Great entertainment and worthy of Five-Stars and more. Your “brand” of Georgia will be on my mind for a long time to come. Keep writing Mr. Tucker! My entertainment depends upon it.