Like Lions

Like Lions

by Brian Panowich

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Overview

"A book filled with unforgettable characters and a tension that heightens with every chapter." The Wall Street Journal

A powerful follow up to multiple award-winning debut Bull Mountain.

Brian Panowich burst onto the crime fiction scene in 2015, winning awards and accolades from readers and critics alike for his smoldering debut, Bull Mountain. Now with Like Lions, he cements his place as one of the outstanding new voices in crime fiction.

Clayton Burroughs is a small-town Georgia sheriff, a new father, and, improbably, the heir apparent of Bull Mountain’s most notorious criminal family.

As he tries to juggle fatherhood, his job and his recovery from being shot in the confrontation that killed his two criminally-inclined brothers last year, he’s doing all he can just to survive. Yet after years of carefully toeing the line between his life in law enforcement and his family, he finally has to make a choice.

When a rival organization makes a first foray into Burroughs territory, leaving a trail of bodies and a whiff of fear in its wake, Clayton is pulled back into the life he so desperately wants to leave behind. Revenge is a powerful force, and the vacuum left by his brothers’ deaths has left them all vulnerable. With his wife and child in danger, and the way of life in Bull Mountain under siege for everyone, Clayton will need to find a way to bury the bloody legacy of his past once and for all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250206954
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/30/2019
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 24,908
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Brian Panowich is an award winning author, a Georgia firefighter, and a father to four incredible children. His first novel, Bull Mountain, was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, ITW Thriller Award winner for Best First Novel, Southern Book Prize winner, and a finalist for both the Anthony and the Barry Awards. He lives in Georgia with his family.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

The Chute: Somewhere off the grid in the woods of North Georgia

Present day

The initial blast turned the front door of the infamous mountainside barn-turned-pool hall into an explosion of splinters and kindling, but the jam-packed, sweaty crowd inside didn't seem to notice above the music. It was the second roar of buckshot that peppered the ceiling and shattered the disco ball that got their attention. The music scratched to a halt, and shards of mirrored glass, acoustic tiles, and plugs of pink cotton insulation rained down all over the dance floor. Gun smoke and drywall dust filled the bar with a dense blue fog, thick with the smell of cordite. Within seconds, the main lights popped on. A man decked out in black tactical clothing, with an over-stretched leg of tan pantyhose pulled over his face, racked the shotgun in his hands for a third time.

"All y'all sons of bitches get yer peckers on the floor, or I swear by God somebody's liable to get one blowed off."

A room full of statues gave him a collective blank stare, but the man appeared at ease, pleased to finally be the center of attention. "I'm not fuckin' around here, people. The last one of you queer-baits left standing is gonna have a real bad day. Now stop staring at me all slack-jawed and drop." The gunman made a sweeping motion with the barrel of his Mossberg toward the cement slab at his feet. The floor was slick with freshly spilled Jägermeister and stank of stale beer, but the patrons of the late-night hideaway began to understand what was happening, and as the smoke cleared, they started to drop, one by one, to their knees.

The bar was a ramshackle building that used to be an old marijuana dry-house. It was built on a cement slab, a simple stick-frame made of two-by-fours, Sheetrock, and plaster, and it made its reputation in the Blue Ridge Foothills for its complete disregard for the moral majority. In this region of North Georgia, the joint was a rare breed. The place also made buckets of cash on a nightly basis. The clientele of Tuten's Chute, or just The Chute, as the locals knew it, were mostly a mixed bag of vagrants, deviants, curious college students, and fetish chasers from other parts of the state. They were the kind of folks who didn't fit in at the more traditional whiskey bars found around Helen or Rabun County. They were the kind of folks most people didn't care to know. The man with the gun moved farther into the club, as three more men with stocking-smeared faces, dressed in similar paramilitary clothing, filed into the bar behind him. All three of them moved in a practiced pattern as they flanked the crowd and spread over the wide-open dance floor, taking inventory of the club's layout and its occupants. The main gunman bounced his stare from one set of eyes to another, waiting for a pair that would hold his own, until he found some.

"That one, right there," the gunman said, pointing to a big hoss with an oversize shaved head. He was the only one who hadn't dropped to his knees. Another gunman came up behind him and brought the butt of a rifle down hard between the man's shoulder blades. The blow knocked the big boy to his knees.

"The man said get down, ya fuckin' retard."

The big man grunted like an animal as he fell, but quickly shook off the pain and began to get back up. A second hit from the man with the rifle stopped him, and this time he sprawled out across the floor on his belly. Everyone in the bar cringed in disbelief as the man with the large head began to get up a second time. The main gunman pressed the barrel of his Mossberg hard into the doughy flesh of the man's neck and pushed his head back down flush to the floor.

"Stay down, Corky, or you're gonna lose that big-ass melon."

The man on the ground said something into the cement that no one could understand.

"Stay down, Nails." There was a new voice in the room, and everyone's heads turned toward the bar. Freddy Tuten, another tree trunk of a man, had emerged from a small office behind the bar. "Just do what the man says."

"I'd listen to your girlfriend, Nails."

The man on the floor did listen. He stopped moving and lay facedown on the cement. The man holding the shotgun lifted it from Nails's neck and gave his attention to the man he'd come to see. Freddy Tuten was every bit of seventy years old, but he was built like a heavyweight boxer. The gunman only knew Freddy by reputation, but the rumors were true. He'd always heard Freddy was rarely seen wearing anything other than a pink taffeta bathrobe with a cursive letter T embroidered on it. The man with the shotgun didn't believe any grown man in these mountains would be able to get away with dressing like that until now, because tonight was no exception. Freddy was dressed as described right down to the letter on his lapel. He even wore a light blue shade of eye shadow and bright bubblegum-pink lipstick. But as ridiculous as the old man might've looked, the gunman still knew he was a man not to be underestimated. The rumors also talked of Freddy's weapon of choice — an aluminum baseball bat — and the things he'd been known to do to a man with it weren't pretty. Freddy stood behind the bar holding that bat loosely with both hands. The three-foot tube of metal looked like it had seen just as many years as its owner, and by the dents and dings, they'd been hard years.

"Well, well, well," the gunman said. "You must be the famous Freddy Tuten."

"That's right, and you must be the dumbest shit-bird this side of Bear Creek."

Despite the flattened nose and the distorted swirl that the pantyhose made of the gunman's face, it was clear to see he was smiling. Shotgun versus baseball bat inspired confidence. Rumors be damned. He lifted the Mossberg and pointed it square at Freddy. Tuten took one hand off the bat and pushed his shoulder-length salt-and-pepper hair back behind one ear.

"I'd lower that scattergun if I was you, son."

"That's some big talk from a fella in a pink bathrobe. What if I just pull the trigger instead? You reckon that bat is gonna stop a load of buckshot?"

Tuten shook his head. "No, I suppose it won't." He tossed the bat onto the bar and it rolled off the outer edge, landing on the floor by Nails with an unremarkable thin tink. "I don't think anything could save me, if that's what you decide to do, but I can promise you this, pulling that trigger is the only option you got if you plan on leaving this county alive."

The man with the gun laughed, but it sounded forced and hollow. He was done talking to this old buzzard. They came there for a reason and he needed to get to it. He knew better than to waste time talking. That's what the old man wanted. The gunman turned, raised his voice, and addressed his men. "Curtis, you and Hutch zip-tie everyone on the floor like I told you. JoJo, you stand over there and watch this old fairy while he opens the safe. If he does anything other than what I tell him to do, blow his fucking head off."

"Hell, yeah, I will," JoJo said and trained his rifle on Tuten from the end of the bar.

The man in charge reached into his pocket and pulled out a thick fold of black plastic. A few of the people being hogtied on the floor flinched when he shook open the trash bag and laid it on the bar in front of Tuten. The old man looked more like a disappointed grandfather than an aging drag queen being robbed at gunpoint. He picked up the trash bag and shook his head again. "Stupid," he said softly, and turned toward the back counter.

"How's that, old man? What'd you say?"

"I said you're stupid, boy. Stupid. I mean, you do realize that you just told everyone in here the names of all your buddies — Hutch, JoJo, Curtis. I mean, damn, son. How hard do you think I'm gonna have to work to hunt you fellas down now after all this nonsense is over?"

"Well, maybe that tells you how fuckin' concerned we are about you and that pink robe of yours knowing who we are." The gunman tried to sound hard, but Tuten knew he'd just put a little fear in him. He could smell it on him. His voice was shaky around the edges.

"It ain't my fashion sense you need to be concerned about, dipshit. It's who the money in that safe belongs to you need to worry about. Who do you think you're robbin' here, anyway?"

"It looks like I'm robbing the tooth fairy."

Tuten shook his head a third time and walked over to the safe. "You keep it up with the gay jokes, son. Keep thinking this little smash-and-grab you and your boys cooked up is going to pay off for you. I can promise you it ain't."

"Just give me the money, bitch."

Tuten's temper was being tested now. There was only so much of that shit talk he could take, but he kept himself in check and did as he was told. He moved aside a few bottles of Valentine's famous pecan whiskey, and then picked up a framed eight-by-ten photo that he used to obscure the front of the combination safe built into the wall. He paused for moment and stared at the picture. It was a photo of himself and another man dressed in army fatigues that had been taken over forty years ago. The sepia-tinged photo didn't even look real. It looked more like a prop from a World War II movie, or a fabricated piece of nostalgia that you'd see hanging in a Cracker Barrel restaurant.

"Chop, chop, fucker." The gunman tapped the barrel of his shotgun on the bar. Tuten set the picture down carefully in front of a row of plastic liquor bottles and went to work on the lock.

"You know," he said as he twisted the dial, "I guess it's better that you're stupid. I mean, I'd hate to find out you're really smart, with a job, and a family — kids maybe — you know, with people back home depending on you."

"Just shut up and keep spinning that thing."

"Because that would be a shame. Being stupid makes being dead a whole lot easier on everybody."

"Hurry the fuck up."

"Oh, and JoJo, Hutch, and Curtis over there? Man, I really hope they're stupid, too." Tuten looked back over his shoulder. "Aw, hell. I reckon they'd have to be since they followed you in here." All three men stared at Tuten and he flashed them a wide, toothy smile.

"Relax, boys. He's just flapping his gums. Trying to throw us off our game. It's like I told you before. Everyone knows this place ain't got no juice behind it anymore. JoJo was right. There's no big bad wolf waiting in these woods anymore. It's just this old bitch now, raking in cash from these other bitches." He turned to Tuten. "So you can cut the act. We all know there ain't another living soul on this mountain that gives a shit if you live or die. So shut your mouth, open the safe, and fill the damn bag. I'm done telling you." The gunman used the barrel of the shotgun to slide the trash bag across the bar closer to Tuten, and looked around. "I'm getting sick just standing in here. This place smells like a water-treatment plant. I don't know how you pillow-biters can stand it."

Tuten didn't say anything else. He was tired of the banter as well. He stared at the picture on the counter as he worked the lock. It was his brother, Jacob, in the picture with him. That photo had been taken three days before a Korean soldier shot Jacob in the face. It was the only thing in the entire bar Tuten cared about, and he was sick of listening to this homophobic piece of shit talking the way he was — disrespecting it. Tuten spun the combination lock without taking his eyes off the photo — left, right, and left again. The gunman didn't notice the picture at all, but he did notice the old man's gnarled-up knuckles. Lumps of scar tissue crisscrossed all of them. The gunman wondered what the old bastard had done in his life to earn those scars. He must've been a brawler, but that had been a long time ago. Now he was just an old man wearing lipstick and eye shadow. The gunman tapped the bar again.

"Five seconds, old man."

When the safe clicked, everyone in the room could feel the tension ease. Tuten pulled the steel door open and made sure he reached inside slow enough not to get anyone too excited.

"That's it. Now let's go. Fill the bag."

"You want the dope, too?"

"Hell, yeah, we want the dope, too," JoJo yelled across the bar as if he was the one being asked. Tuten filled the trash bag with fist-size rolls of cash, and two ziplock sandwich bags packed with muddy-yellow bathtub crank. The man with the shotgun was beginning to get jittery at the sight of the money. They'd already taken too long. He looked back and surveyed the room. His boys had zip-tied the hands of everyone bellied down on the floor with little to no resistance, but Curtis was still having trouble with the same bald guy who didn't want to stay down a few minutes ago.

"What's the problem, Curtis? Tie that asshole up."

"I'm trying, Clyde, but goddamn. Look at this one's hand." Curtis pulled up on Nails's left arm. The man's hand was twice the size of a normal man's hand and swollen into an oval shape. The stubby fingers spread out across it were barely one knuckle long and were mostly overgrown by thick, yellowed fingernails that curved over and hid his fingertips. The man's hand looked like a rubber glove that had been blown up and tied at the wrist — but with claws.

"What the fuck?" Clyde said. "Just tie it up, for Christ's sake."

Curtis struggled with the thin strip of clear plastic. "I can't get the damn zip around it."

"Fuck it, then. We're done here anyway. Just shoot him."

Curtis let go of Nails's arm and stood up straight. He started to pull a small-caliber handgun from his belt. "Hold up," Clyde said. "That peashooter ain't gonna do it. Move. Let me do it."

"Just wait a minute." Tuten tossed the bag of cash and dope on the bar. "Why don't you just take what you came for — Clyde. Just take it, and leave that man be. He ain't gonna cause you no trouble. You got my word."

Clyde cocked his head and stared at Tuten. "Oh, shit. What's up with the sudden change of tune, Tuten? You got a soft spot for the retard, here?" Tuten just pushed the bag of money closer to Clyde.

"No way." Clyde laughed. "Is this water-head motherfucker your boyfriend?"

"Nah," Tuten said. "It's nothing like that. Nails ain't gay. I just don't want him to kill you before I get a chance to find out who your people are."

"Him — kill us?" Clyde laughed even louder and this time it was genuine. He turned back to the bar and put the shotgun on Nails, but by then it was too late. Nails swung the mangled fist that Curtis couldn't get tied across the floor like a wrecking ball. He caught both Clyde and Curtis in the ankles and took their legs out with one swipe. They both fell backward to the floor, and Clyde's shotgun went spinning toward the door. Within seconds, Nails had grabbed the aluminum bat that Tuten had clearly dropped on the floor just for him a few minutes ago and used his good hand to bring it down full force into Clyde's left shinbone. The crunching sound and snap of the bone echoed through the room.

Even Tuten winced. "Damn," he said, stretching out the word. Clyde screamed in an almost inaudible pitch, and a dog barked from somewhere outside in the woods. Nails slid Clyde across the debris-covered floor by the foot connected to his shattered leg and pulled him into reach. Clyde passed out.

Nails looked at the skinny man with the wrecked leg, with no sign of mercy in his odd, oversize eyes. "I'm sorry, Fred. I gotta kill him. I ain't no retard. He called me a retard — twice."

"I heard him, Nails. Do what you gotta do but leave at least two of the others alive."

"Hold up!" Curtis shouted. He'd dropped his .22 when he fell but managed to scamper toward the door and got to Clyde's shotgun. He aimed the long gun at Nails. "Now who's the motherfuckin' man?" he said and racked the Mossberg like he'd seen Clyde do. The unspent round Clyde already had in the chamber — the last round in the gun — ejected from the side of the weapon and spun like a top on the cement. Everyone in the room looked at the little red pinwheel — hypnotized by it.

After a long moment, Curtis pulled the trigger. There was only an empty click. Nails and Tuten looked confused, before Tuten let out a belly laugh that hit him so hard it turned into a smoker's cough. JoJo and Hutch, who had been frozen silent until now, bolted for the door. Curtis threw the useless long gun at Nails — who caught it — and slid farther back toward the ruined door, leaving Clyde passed out on the floor.

Nails sat up, holding the gun. He was still confused. "Did that just happen?"

"Yep," Tuten said, as he came around the bar and used a paring knife to start cutting the zip-ties off his friends. Curtis finally got to his feet and hustled toward the waiting El Camino outside. JoJo had already gotten into the driver's seat and had it cranked and waiting. Curtis hopped over the tailgate into the bed of the shiny black muscle car as Hutch jumped into the passenger seat.

"Go!" Curtis yelled. "Go!"

"What about Clyde?"

"Fuck Clyde, JoJo. Just go!"

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Like Lions"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Brian Panowich.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Dedication,
Epigraphs,
Prologue. Bull Mountain, Georgia,
1. The Chute: Somewhere off the grid in the woods of North Georgia,
2. Waymore Valley Township, Georgia,
3. Burnt Hickory Pond,
4. Cripple Creek Road,
5. The Knight's Inn Motel off Interstate 92 Tampa, Florida,
6. The Compound,
7. Service Road Nineteen,
8. Meadows Funeral Home just outside Boneville, Georgia,
9. The Compound,
10. Burroughs Hunting Cabin off the Southern Ridge,
11. White Bluff Road,
12. Cripple Creek Road,
13. The northern feed of Bear Creek,
14. Cripple Creek Road,
15. Hamilton Road: The home of Daniel "Coot" Viner,
16. The Compound,
17. Edmund's Kuntry Kitchen Fannin County, Georgia,
18. Cooper's Field,
19. Lucky's Diner Waymore Valley Township,
20. Cripple Creek Road,
21. Western outpost near Little Finger Rapids,
22. The Fire,
23. Little Finger Rapids,
24. Cripple Creek Road,
25. McFalls Memorial Hospital Waymore Valley Township,
26. The Red Land Motel Washington, Georgia,
27. Burnt Hickory Pond,
28. Burroughs Summit,
Epilogue. T&A Travel Station Hart County,,
Georgia,
Acknowledgments,
Also by Brian Panowich,
About the Author,
Copyright,

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Like Lions 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great+read+and+novel.+Reading+the+first+two+novels+in+sequece+is+important.+It+sets+the+stage+for+Like+Lions.++Enjoyed+the+setting+being+in+the+North+Georgia+Mountains+and+the+folks+that+make+up+the+Applachian+American+history+and+culture.+++Job+well+done%21
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well worth the wait.
ThePedestrianEquestrian More than 1 year ago
Big thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press (Minotaur Books) for an eARC of Like Lions in exchange for an honest review. Sometimes family goes beyond blood. Clayton Burroughs is spiraling fast in the aftermath of having to shoot his own brother, in an act as the McFalls County Sheriff. As Clayton struggles to come to terms with his actions, and convince himself that he's not a murderer, he is also being forced to face his family history. The Burroughs clan has long run Bull Mountain, located in North Georgia. Clayton was raised with his two older brothers, Halford and Buckley, by "Deddy" Gareth Burroughs - one of the largest crime families in the South - after his mother left them when he was just a baby. After his father's death, eldest brother Halford stepped in and seemingly took to running the crime family like a fish takes to water. During this time, Clayton had next to no contact with his family, choosing instead to walk the path of lawfulness, being elected County Sheriff. Paranoia near the end of his life though lead to a lot of questionable actions on Halford's part, according to his "deputies", including midnight meetings, unexplainable requests, and calling meetings just to count ammunition inventory...in the middle of the night. The Burroughs and those who followed them were effectively a hillbilly tactial unit. Enter the Viner clan of further South. "JoJo" Viner, an idiot kid, convinces two of his friends that the Burroughs are in a state of disarray after the sudden death of their leader, and that now is the time to strike to take control of Bull Mountain. Defying the word of his father "Coot" and grandmother Twyla, Jojo ends up getting himself and his friends killed, and dumped on his poor grandmother's front porch. Jojo by none other than the County Sheriff himself. As often does between opposing crime families, all hell breaks loose and Clayton is unwillingly pulled into the fray when his wife and infant son are threatened as retribution. Like Lions is packed with drama from the first page. It's a typical shoot-em-up, drugs and lying fueled type of crime story but the setting is more unique. This isn't your typical shoot 'em up cowboy story, nor is it your typical "big city" crime family war. The battles in Georgia are bloody but contained. There's a subtlety to them that isn't typical of crime novels. Panowich did a great job developing his characters, and his descriptions of a lot of them made them easy to imagine in my head. I really enjoy descriptive writing and I think Like Lions nailed it. I loved Kate's character, she matched perfectly as a representation of a lioness, showing strength, resilience, and a fiercely protective nature over those in her "pride". Clayton's pain was perfectly written. Sometimes authors will go over the top in an attempt to make their characters seem to be the woe-is-me type, and Panowich did a great job balancing Clayton's attitude. While he felt like he carried the weight of the world, when push came to shove, he knew what was the most important. There were so many characters in Like Lions, some extremely important, others less-so, but I felt like none were truly neglected in their development, which is incredibly rare to find in a novel. There was only one characters who I never really felt like I found out who they were, and if you read Like Lions, you'll probably recognize who I'm talking about (and if you figure it out, please explain it to me!). Overall I really enjoye
VWilliams More than 1 year ago
I read this sequel as a standalone and feel you have no problem picking up very quickly on just who these backwoods, heinous people are. It didn't take me long to get the prickly apprehension vibes and the tension stayed elevated throughout the narrative which begins with a chilling and compelling prologue hook. Clayton Burroughs, county sheriff of this small north Georgia location, is still recovering from the major, near-death injuries of a year ago. His family and the legacy left by his father and brothers are never far from the tumultuous crime-ridden surface. It's Burroughs territory and they reined heavily until that confrontation. Their deaths and his lack of desire to take over the helm of the dynasty has begun to open the door for new and even darker gangs or clans. There are unseen and powerful forces building a dreadful foreboding of the war to come. These factions play for keeps and when moonshine took a back seat to the drug trade, millions of dollars as well as the territory went up for grabs. "Pride will kill you faster than a bullet." This is a gritty, southern lit, hick lit, hillbilly noir or whatever you want to call it and I'll warn you, it's rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. The characters are raw, open, and come off totally real. Kate, Clayton's wife, is wonderful, strong, decent. She loves her man. But the man is damaged and he's drinking. He has a number of "family" who will cover his back--well, most that is because this is also a story of loyalty and betrayal. His office gal slash dispatcher, Cricket, is a great support character. Other characters have names like Scabby Mike and Nails McKenna, JoJo and Coot Viner. You'd expect that... The conflict and turmoil have you reeling from the gut punches and flipping pages, unsure what will happen next. The plot moves with gathering speed until the explosive climax. Wow, is this guy a storyteller or what? And just when you think it's over, the epilogue! OMG! I received this uncorrected digital galley from the publisher and NetGalley and totally, absolutely found it electrifying; a shock of a book that you can't put down. Totally recommended for all you thriller fans; deep, dark, noir fans.
Shelley-S-Reviewer More than 1 year ago
This book was phenomenal and it had so many surprising moments that were action packed and mind blowing . We get multiple point of view's but it was very easy to follow and they were all necessary. The depth of the characters, the theme of community and taking sides was awesome. You really didn't know who to trust and that made the book all the more exciting. This book had everything, and I loved how it all ended, it was quite shocking. The prose, the authenticity, the unstoppable conflict on every page, rendered it impossible to put down. I am a fan of dark crime stories and Like Lions ticked every single box for an amazing novel. I was swept alongside the rocky history of the Burroughs and held on breathless until the last page. Brian Panowich can write and I will be anxiously waiting for another novel from him (Here's hoping there is a book III). I recommend this book to everyone.
CRSK More than 1 year ago
This story begins with a reflective prologue, set in the year 1972, back when Clayton’s family was still whole, living under one roof. A mother, father, and two brothers, filling in some gaps from the past, and then continues in the present. The Burroughs family has lived on Bull Mountain for generations, but in the present time, his brothers are both gone, as is his father. His mother hasn’t been in his life for as long as Clayton can remember. The generations of men that came before him were moonshiners, then marijuana growers, and then meth, only Clayton’s turned his back on the family business, but business keeps trying to pull him back in. Now it’s OxyContin. The Leek clan means to run OxyContin through the county and all they’re asking is for Clayton to turn a blind eye. The Viners have plans of their own. When his wife and infant son’s lives are threatened, what’s a sheriff to do? Should he -can he - rely on his team of somewhat inept law officials, who are no match for his enemies, to keep them safe? Or should he turn to his ancestral criminal ways? Where this excels is in Panowich’s transportive prose, the emotionally raw and beautifully descriptive details that share the beauty of this rural area, and the determination of these people. Perhaps especially Clayton, whose body and soul bear the scars of the wounded so that you can’t help but feel his physical pain with each step, as well as his emotions as they come to the surface. ”Clayton was the exact opposite, he held onto everything. He hoarded guilt and pain the way some people did magazines and newspapers until it just became part of the everyday landscape.” From the Prologue to the Epilogue, and all the pages in between, this covers the good, the bad, and the ugly in life. Poignant moments throughout keep this from being one tense moment after another, wrapping things up with an astonishingly fantastic conclusion that I never saw coming. Call it grit-lit, southern-lit, hillbilly noir, whatever you like, just read this expressively electric, incredible return to Bull Mountain. Many thanks for the ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press / Minotaur Books
Aqswr More than 1 year ago
LIKE LIONS is the sequel to author Brian Panowich’s BULL MOUNTAIN, a darkly beautiful yet violent tale that followed a southern clan in Georgia self-destruct. A year later, one brother survives physically yet is an emotional wreck, uncertain whether to claim or fully reject his birthright. Panowich creates a Greek tragedy of missing parents, sibling rivalry and unrecognized blood relatives killing or maiming one another. Always just missing out on needed intel, these are not folks functioning on just-in-time information. The most reflective of the characters wonder if they’ve brought the bad stuff on themselves. The others just assume that’s their lot in life. This is a fast moving book and the action rarely stops. The book is impossible to stop once started. Panowich is an author that keeps getting better. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.