Daily Archives: August 3, 2011
Angel in the Front Room Devil Out Back by Stanford Diehl
Twenty years ago Jackson Moon discovered that everyone in Solomon’s Rock, Georgia had a black heart and that the powerful men who ran the town, including his own father, were not what they seemed. A few people gain redemption by the end of the book and the story is rife with modern gangster plots, cold-blooded killers, and people who simply have no luck. Why was Bosco’s Bar and Grille burned to the ground, its patrons and prostitutes roasted alive in the upstairs rooms, all those years ago and what does it have to do with crime boss Michael Grant’s civil war park and current legal troubles? Jackson Moon is determined to find out.
At 420 pages long, Angel in the Front Room Devil Out Back is probably the longest books I’ve read for pleasure in years. I’m not a big fan of contemporary fiction and when I began Stanford Diehl’s book I was not sure I was going to finish it. At the beginning, a lot of confusing characters were thrown at the reader and you were not completely sure if everyone you were reading about was important to the story. Also, I wasn’t completely in love with the protagonist, Jackson Moon. It seemed like our main character couldn’t decide whether to be a hero or a coward. But I persevered and after the first half of the book I was dying to know just what Jackson Moon had up his sleeve.
Despite some mistakes, (Jackson enters a car twice at one point and the author often calls the main character by his given name Jackson and then by a nickname of Jackie together, which disrupts the flow in my opinion and threw me) the book ended up being intriguing and very involved. Jackson Moon does not turn out to be the clueless boy fumbling with his sense of right and wrong that he appears to be at the start. All of the characters are important to the story and serve to further the plot; even the love interest Bridgett Baines has a purpose besides just looking pretty. The story twists and turns and has a few good surprises.
I like this book and I grew to like the characters, especially when the main character appeared to gain a brain. There is a lot of violence and a disturbing amount of racism. People die and are maimed during the story and, although I have no problem with violence in books, there were a few parts that had me muttering “ew”. I’m glad I picked up the book and that I finished it rather than give up at the beginning. You can’t miss a thing in Angle in the Front Room Devil Out Back because every word is essential.
(Please note that if violence or extreme racism disturbs you, you might want to pass on this book.)