River, Sing Out by James Wade audiobook

River, Sing Out: A Novel

By James Wade
Read by Roger Clark

Blackstone Publishing 9781982601089
9.18 Hours 1
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Attempting to escape his abusive father and generations of cyclical poverty, young Jonah Hargrove joins the mysterious River—a teenage girl carrying thousands of dollars in stolen meth—and embarks on a southern gothic odyssey through the East Texas river bottoms. They are pursued by local drug kingpin John Curtis and his murderous enforcer, Dakota Cade, with whom River was romantically involved. But Cade and Curtis have their own enemies, as their relationship with the cartel controlling their meth supply begins to sour. Keeping tabs on everyone is the Thin Man, a silent assassin who values consequence over mercy. Each person is keeping secrets from the others—deadly secrets that will be exposed in savage fashion as their final paths collide and all are forced to come to terms with their choices, their circumstances, and their own definition of God. With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into a sinister and sanguinary world, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.

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Summary

Summary

Attempting to escape his abusive father and generations of cyclical poverty, young Jonah Hargrove joins the mysterious River—a teenage girl carrying thousands of dollars in stolen meth—and embarks on a southern gothic odyssey through the East Texas river bottoms.

They are pursued by local drug kingpin John Curtis and his murderous enforcer, Dakota Cade, with whom River was romantically involved. But Cade and Curtis have their own enemies, as their relationship with the cartel controlling their meth supply begins to sour.

Keeping tabs on everyone is the Thin Man, a silent assassin who values consequence over mercy.

Each person is keeping secrets from the others—deadly secrets that will be exposed in savage fashion as their final paths collide and all are forced to come to terms with their choices, their circumstances, and their own definition of God.

With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into a sinister and sanguinary world, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“With echoes of Jim Harrison, Cormac McCarthy (and perhaps a smidge of Flannery O’Connor), River, Sing Out is a beautiful, brutal meditation on survival and love in the face of nearly unspeakable violence and depravity…Taut, lyrical, and precise, the prose soars in this important new novel by James Wade.” Elizabeth Wetmore, New York Times bestselling author of Valentine
“With echoes of Jim Harrison, Cormac McCarthy (and perhaps a smidge of Flannery O’Connor), River, Sing Out is a beautiful, brutal meditation on survival and love in the face of nearly unspeakable violence and depravity in an East Texas community ravaged by the meth trade. Taut, lyrical, and precise, the prose soars in this important new novel by James Wade.” Elizabeth Wetmore, New York Times bestselling author of Valentine
“If you read one novel this year, make it this one. James Wade’s River, Sing Out is an instant classic filled with characters that will break your heart, lyrical prose as haunted as the river it evokes, and a Southern Noir undertow that wholly sucks you in and keeps you turning the pages until its searing, masterful conclusion.” May Cobb, author of The Hunting Wives
“Wade, whose striking debut, All Things Left Wild (2020), traveled back a century in Texas history, uses an unlikely friendship to explore an equally wild present-day landscape…A haunting fable of an impossible relationship fueled by elemental need and despair.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

by Lynn 6/17/2021
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Engrossing and compelling story with narration that compliments

RIVER, SING OUT is a gripping and intricate story set in East Texas, where life is difficult and brutal, even to children.

This novel is chock-a-block full of characters, literarily and figuratively. Each character, without exception, is wholly developed and a clear individual, from the characters who may only been in one or two scenes, to the main characters of Jonah, River, and John Curtis. My heart went out to Jonah, who at 13 years old, is basically left to raise himself by his absent father. Jonah counting how many days of food he has left at one egg per day was pure anguish for me and my daily eggs for breakfast habit. I didn’t connect with River, to be perfectly honest. She’s making decisions and living a life I cannot begin to understand. But through Mr. Wade’s writing, I can begin to see how difficult her life has been. John Curtis is one of the most distinct characters I’ve ever read. He’s an orator, a snake-oil salesman, and an apex predator. It doesn’t pay to cross him. Or to be a trusted friend, either. His character gave me goose bumps every time he was in a scene.

Mr. Wade’s writing style is lyrical, visual, and a pleasure to read. From the mundane (a haircut for Jonah) to the extreme (River’s detox), each word is in its proper place, carefully thought out and planned. Descriptions are riveting; dialog is emotional and heart-felt. (Mr. Wade uses the word tarpaulin, instead of tarp. That’s an example of writing that I would have never even considered.)
The different plot lines flow along like smaller tributaries until they all converge into the larger river. Two scenes in the novel really stood out for me. The first is a dog fight scene and the second is a frog gigging scene. Both scenes read like Mr. Wade has had personal experience in these subjects. Or did some serious interviewing and\or research. I could hear all the dogs barking and frogs croaking in my mind while I listened to the narration. I was also squirming from the graphic details. As Bud, one of the giggers, states while his slicing up the frogs:
“Like taking his little ole pants off, ain’t it?”
I’ll spare you the pliers and other details of that quote!

Make no mistake, RIVER, SING OUT is gritty. If you are triggered by subject matters in books, this book probably has them (violence, drugs, and murder amongst the subjects here). I wouldn’t so much say I enjoyed reading this (it’s no LOL romantic comedy, that’s for sure!). But I listened attentively, anxious for the next twist of the plot, hopeful that Jonah and River get out of the messes they are in and get to see the ocean at the end of their trip.

The audio narration by Mr. Clark was captivating, sonorous, and a proper accompaniment to Mr. Wade’s writing. The character voices are distinct and easy to follow. Mr. Clark shines, though, as the narrator of the novel. (I’d listen to Mr. Clark reading the dictionary!) I’ll certainly be looking for other books he’s narrated. The production is smooth and enjoyable. There were no quality issues with the recording.

Overall, RIVER, SING OUT is engrossing and compelling, especially with Mr. Clark’s narration. The realistic characters, amazing descriptions, and absorbing dialog are worth investing the time in this novel.

Author

Author Bio: James Wade

Author Bio: James Wade

James Wade lives and writes in the Texas Hill Country with his wife and daughter. His debut novel, All Things Left Wild, won the 2021 Spur Award for Historical Novel. James is also a winner of the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest and a finalist of the Tethered by Letters Short Fiction Contest. His fiction has appeared in various literary magazines, including the Bitter Oleander.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD, Hardcover
Category: Fiction/Literary
Runtime: 9.18
Audience: Adult
Language: English