Gone South is a bit of a departure from Robert McCammon’s usual horror fare. The story is part adventure, part fantasy (at least hinted at), and strongly character centric. Dan Lambert is a Vietnam vet slowly dying of Agent Orange. After his wife leaves him, and the bank is going to repossess his truck, his sole source of income, he freaks out and kills the bank loan officer. He then goes on the run, and is being tracked by a pair of strange bounty hunters – one who has the unformed arm and head of his unseparated twin and the other an Elvis Presley impersonator. On the way, Lambert links up Arden, a pretty girl with a disfiguring birth mark. They go deep into the swamplands of Florida searching for a legendary faith healer. In the process they are chased by drug dealers.
McCammon did a nice job with the characters in this novel. Despite the horrible act committed by Lambert, he’s a very sympathetic figure. Even though you know he should pay for his crime, he comes off as honorable and kind. He selflessly tries to help Arden. The bounty hunters are also likeable characters. What this novel mostly suffers from is a lack of believability. Some of the action is a bit hard to swallow. The writing is strong, which is what I would expect from McCammon. Although not up to par with his other work, I would recommend Gone South.
Carl Alves – author of Blood Street