Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Review of Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich (2015, Head of Zeus)
In Bull Mountain, Brian Panowich tells the story of the Burroughs clan over a seventy year period, charting their various internal rivalries and rise to become a major criminal enterprise. While most of the story focuses on the present and choice facing the black sheep of the family, Clayton Burroughs, the local sheriff, Panowich provides a multi-threaded narrative that details key events in the family’s past, thus illuminating the present. The result is an atmospheric, somewhat dark read, told in an engaging voice. The Burroughs clan is well drawn and there is a very strong sense of place and social relations. In particular, Clayton is nicely penned. I thought the first three quarters was excellent: a well-structured, evocative plot and tight prose. However, the story seemed to derail a little towards the end and the denouement didn’t ring true to me. Nonetheless, Bull Mountain is a great piece of country noir and I think ready made for a movie adaption.