Damnation Falls

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He has taken on a lucrative but low-prestige writing job for Sonny McMahan, a former governor and Randall's boyhood friend. Faye McMahan, Sonny's mother, is addled with age, imagining that her dead husband is alive and worrying that her son might be in danger.

Amid a violent autumn storm, Randall finds Faye hideously murdered, hanged by the neck from a bridge over the town landmark called Damnation Falls. Within days, another person connected to the McMahan clan is murdered in an even more grisly fashion. And the bones of a third, long-buried murder victim - a young woman - have emerged from the earth.

Randall's ties to the victims force him to acknowledge debts that go back decades. Drawing on his investigative skills and his roots in the region, he sets out to discover who is behind the killings. His search takes him the length of the state - a land once split by civil war, where history lies close to the surface and tales of murder and betrayal weigh heavily on the town of Pilgrim's Rest.

Hardback Editions

Before all the answers are in, more people will die, an old score will be settled and the dead will finally tell their stories. Edward Wright grew up in Arkansas and was a naval officer and a newspaperman before discovering the greater satisfaction of writing fiction. With no job, he agrees to write a biography for his friend, the former Gov.


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But those plans soon go awry after Sonny's mother, Faye, and her caretaker are found dead by Randall -- Faye at Damnation Falls. Before her death, Faye, who had dementia, had uttered what seemed gibberish to Sonny about her husband, Blue, who disappeared years ago, and the bones of Civil War soldiers Randall Wilkes has returned to his small hometown of Pilgrim's Rest after journalistic disgrace in Chicago. Before her death, Faye, who had dementia, had uttered what seemed gibberish to Sonny about her husband, Blue, who disappeared years ago, and the bones of Civil War soldiers recently found nearby.

But when the gibberish starts to make some sense, Randall abandons the book project for his own investigation.

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REVIEW: Damnation Falls by Edward Wright - Material Witness

Wright's novel falls into the "Southern gothic" heading, with plenty of family secrets, damaged father-son relationships and a small town with a local legend that may or may not be true. It's a well-told tale about the nature of truth, trust and redemption. As my first read of , it's set a high standard. I hope all my other books this year are as compelling. Jan 02, Lynne Perednia rated it really liked it. A great character study with several father-son relationships disguised as a mystery.

Randall is a disgraced Chicago newspaper columnist who comes back to small-town Tennessee to write a memoir of his childhood best friend, former governor and big talker Sonny. Randall nearly has no relationship with his own father, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, but loved tagging along with Sonny and his ne'er-do-well father, Blue. The former carny has been reported drowned. Sonny's beloved mother, who is s A great character study with several father-son relationships disguised as a mystery. Sonny's beloved mother, who is showing Alzheimer's signs, is killed Randall's first night back.

Present murder and crimes from the past, a legend about Civil War soldiers hiding in a barn near town that may or may not be true and the story of the town's origin by true believers all have a strong Southern homey feeling that never goes Gothic. An engaging and entertaining novel.

Fiction for the criminally inclined

Read for a 4 Mystery Addicts discussion. Dec 28, Pam rated it really liked it.

Damnation Falls

He is offered a job by his childhood friend and former governor to ghost write his memoirs, something he would have not even considered earlier. He later drops this plan in favor of searching some present and past unsolved murders in his hometown. Mar 14, Dan rated it really liked it. Disgraced Chicago newspaper columnist Randall Wilkes returns to his hometown in eastern Tennessee to write bio of childhood friend, now wannabe governor, in this atmospheric Southern tale.


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  4. Intermingles mystery of Civil War-era atrocity called the Burning, fueling plans for a study center headed by Wilkes' famous historian father, with a murder from Wilkes' high school days, which sparks contemporary murders of those involved. Richly layered first person narration by journalist fired for lying. W Disgraced Chicago newspaper columnist Randall Wilkes returns to his hometown in eastern Tennessee to write bio of childhood friend, now wannabe governor, in this atmospheric Southern tale. With a surprising act of redemption. Oct 05, Neil Troy rated it liked it.

    The book is a pretty good read involving the mystery of a little town and an event from the Civil War called the burning. The author does make the mistake of putting Knoxville in the wrong corner of the state though. Not superb, but decent. Jun 16, Elizabeth Fisher rated it really liked it Shelves: Good weekend read with excellent characterizations. Luckily he is able to return her to Opal and they both calm her down. Embarrassing Though initially, Faye's remarks are discounted, after she turns up dead, other events confirm much of what she had been saying.

    When skeletal remains prove to belong to a long-disappeared girl Randall dated in high school, he must begin to ask questions that may prove embarrassing. Both series focuses on the darkness that lurks under the surface of society, of individuals and of crime itself.

    The characters tend to lack hope and view the future bleakly; yet, the books end in such a way as the protagonists have the feeling that their actions and choices do make a difference in the world.