Charley LeBlanc comes from a rich and powerful Tidewater,
Virginia family, but that doesn't mean he had an easy
life. His father was a drunken abusive person so Charley
left home to join the army and served in Vietnam. He was
dishonorably discharged and did hard time in Leavenworth.
He finally has his act together living with his lover
Mildred "Blackie' Spurlock in an isolated area of Montana.
He and Blackie return to Cliffside in Shawnee County, West
Virginia to check up on Aunt Jessie Arbuckle, a woman who
befriended him when many others turned their backs on him.
He arrives to find Aunt Jessie dead and Esmeralda, a
homeless woman who depended on the charity of Shawnee
County to feed and clothe her, charged with her murder.
Charley knows through the ties that bind him to Esmeralda
that the wrong person is locked away and he intends to find
the real perpetrator.
William Hoffman uses words to convey colorful images in the
mind's eye so that the reader senses the environment that
the flawed protagonist struggles to adapt to so he can have
a peaceful life. Charley is an anti-hero who makes very
serious mistakes but is likable because of the tenderness
he shows to those few people that he cares about. The
story line is beautiful in its simplicity but the author
writes about complex people who are put in difficult
situations and that makes this novel a fabulous read.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted November 3, 2002