Ghost on Black Mountain
Simon & Schuster, 2011 (2011)
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Reviewed by Carrol Wolverton
host on Black Mountain
takes the murderous character of Hobbs Prichard through three generations beginning in the Depression era and continuing until the final developing child is killed in the early sixties.
hosts abound and have conversations with the living as if they're talking over the backyard fence. Hobbs left a dismal trail of death and wound up dragging his seventeen-year-old bride Nellie along with him. For unknown reasons, she and the young women characters have no morals at all around him and find themselves attracted to this loser - first to him, and later to his son, Lonnie.
lack Mountain stays true to its name as the ghosts appear at opportune times. They are most often tortured souls seeking revenge and moving the plot. The widowed Nellie is an axe widow by choice, spends much of her life named Annie, marries a preacher, and buries her past deeper than her ghostly heritage. It doesn't work out well and her daughter by Hobbs conveniently takes up with Hobbs' son by another woman.
hile the situation is highly improbable and ghost driven, Ms. Hite follows the rules of good fiction by creating interesting, diabolical characters surrounded by good people whose lives Hobbs affects in negative ways long after his death. The reader is never at a loss for some hidden secret burdening the living, a ghost showing up, or another funeral pending. Resolution only comes with the death of Hobbs' final seed two generations later.
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