From a remarkable voice in Southern fiction comes a multigenerational saga of crime, family, and vengeance.
Clayton Burroughs comes from a long line of outlaws. For generations, the Burroughs clan has made its home on Bull Mountain in North Georgia, running shine, pot, and meth over six state lines, virtually untouched by the rule of law. To distance himself from his family’s criminal empire, Clayton took the job of sheriff in a neighboring community to keep what peace he can. But when a federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms shows up at Clayton’s office with a plan to shut down the mountain, his hidden agenda will pit brother against brother, test loyalties, and could lead Clayton down a path to self-destruction.
In a sweeping narrative spanning decades and told from alternating points of view, the novel brilliantly evokes the atmosphere of the mountain and its inhabitants: forbidding, loyal, gritty, and ruthless. A story of family—the lengths men will go to protect it, honor it, or in some cases destroy it—Bull Mountain is an incredibly assured debut that heralds a major new talent in fiction.
“Panowich stamps words on the page as if they’ve been blasted from the barrel of a shotgun, and as with a shotgun blast, no one is safe from the scattered fragments of history that impale the people of Bull Mountain.”—Wiley Cash, New York Times-bestselling author of This Dark Road to Mercy
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|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)|
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Excerpted from "Bull Mountain"
Copyright © 2016 Brian Panowich.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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What People are Saying About This
Praise for Bull Mountain
“Brian Panowich stamps words on the page as if they’ve been blasted from the barrel of a shotgun, and as with a shotgun blast, no one is safe from the scattered fragments of history that impale the people of Bull Mountain. From a conflict born of violence and loyalty, Panowich brings us a cast of remarkable characters who are linked by blood but severed by duty. This is a wonderfully rich and evocative debut novel that is steeped in both the history of Appalachia and well aware of the current challenges it faces.”—Wiley Cash, New York Times-bestselling author of This Dark Road to Mercy
“Brian Panowich had me at the first word of his spectacular debut novel, 'Family,' and he held me until the very last page. Bull Mountain is a sprawling, gritty, violent, tribal inter-generational crime epic with a deeply rooted sense of place and an gut-punch ending I didn’t see coming. Expect to see Bull Mountain on the short-list of many 'Best First Novel' awards.”—C. J. Box, New York Times-bestselling author of Endangered
“Holy cow, what a book! It moves like a bullet. Mr. Panowich knows his mountains, his whiskey, his dope and his meth. And boy, does he know his characters, who are drawn so vividly I can't forget them. I can't recommend this novel enough—it will thrill fans of Daniel Woodrell and Larry Brown as well as fans of Dennis Lehane and William Gay. First rate, first rate!”—Tom Franklin, New York Times-bestselling author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
“The gripping, witty Bull Mountain is not only a fine debut, but a fine mystery novel, period. Panowich may even have carved out his own subgenre of hillbilly noir. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.”—John Connolly, New York Times-bestselling author of The Wolf in Winter
“Bull Mountain is a stone gas and a stone winner! It’s brother-versus-brother in the dope-damned South. This first novel has it all: moonshine, maryjane and mayhem! Read this book now – and succumb to a startling new talent.” –James Ellroy, author of Perfidia
“Bull Mountain is a stunningly polished debut novel. Panowich’s tale of family, of land, of crimes large and small, of right and wrong, is so vivid that the reader can almost see the blood in the soil and smell the violence on the wind.”—Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times-bestselling author of Robert B. Parker’s Blind Spot
"The resurgence of American heartland noir gets a strong new prose soldier with Brian Panowich's debut novel Bull Mountain, a tense, multi-generational tale of life on the hard side, a cops vs. bad guys story with subtly interwoven family sagas, romance and redemption. Panowich is a rising author to watch." —James Grady, author of Six Days of the Condor
"With echoes of Faulkner's Sanctuary and McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, Brian Panowich's debut novel is Cain and Abel for a sticky South. Strong as bootleg whiskey, smooth as the action of a well-oiled pistol, Bull Mountain is a beautiful, harrowing debut—and so much fun, it ought to be against the law."—Aaron Gwyn, author of Wynne's War
“Dug into the landscape like a grave, Bull Mountain is a novel that resonates with a stirring combination of grace and brutality, of beauty and loss. In the Burroughs family, Brian Panowich creates a clan with all the fire and depth of Faulkner’s Henry Sutpen storming through a Steve Earle song.”—Steve Weddle, author of Country Hardball
Reading Group Guide
1. The novel begins with the word “family,” and the powerful scenes that follow signal the importance of familial bonds—and rifts—in this novel. Discuss the role of family in the story. To which characters is it most important? Is family defined by blood or by something else?
2. There are two key female protagonists in the novel: Kate and Marion. What did you think of these two women? What were their most distinctive characteristics? How does each disrupt the balance of the Burroughs family?
3. Consider the narrative structure of Bull Mountain, which is told in chapters that alternate between characters and time periods. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this way? Did the structure enhance any particular part of the story for you (e.g., the suspense, characterization)?
4. Clayton Burroughs and Simon Holly have more in common than initially meets the eye, but they’re also very different men who choose divergent paths. What drove each man? Why did each make the choices he made, for good or for ill?
5. Brian Panowich brings to the novel a strong sense of place, and Bull Mountain becomes a character in itself, a dynamic setting that means different things to different people. What role does it play? What does the mountain mean to Clayton? What about to Kate, Simon, or Halford?
6. Clayton and Kate have the most functional romantic relationship in the novel, and yet even they have big ups and downs. How would you describe their marriage? How has being with Kate changed Clayton, and vice versa? To what extent does Clayton’s family influence their relationship?
7. In addition to the main characters, the novel is peppered with a rich and colorful cast of people, such as Bracken, Val, Scabby Mike, Choctaw, Cricket, and others. Which secondary character was your favorite, and why? Did any stand out to you for the humor or depth they brought to the narrative?
8. Through the course of the novel, several characters pursue a course of vengeance. How is revenge depicted in the novel? Is it worth it? Is it ever just? How is it different for each character?
9. mBull Mountain contains elements of crime fiction, family saga, and Southern gothic. How would you categorize the novel? What fiction might it be compared to?
10. mWhat did you think of the ending? Were you surprised?