Lots of folks reviewing Southern Gods start talking Lovercraft and Chutlulu or whatever the hell the guy’s name is, but that’s all lost on me. I’ve never really been a horror guy. But I read Southern Gods – twice – and I don’t care. What do I want in a book? I want atmosphere and a sense of place — and Jacob’s vision of 1950s Memphis and then Arkansas is all sweat-soaked shirts, sluggish brown water, moss-creeped woods, and fading RC signs painted on the sides of ramshackle barns on the verge of down-at-the-heels towns that a jet-aged nation has left in its social wake. Bull Ingram takes the trope of a war-weary Vet at odds with the post-war world and twists it just enough to make him a compelling conduit for Jacob’s vision of gods at war with both humanity and each other, and the counterpoint of three generations of women drawn into a family’s dark history serves as a compelling balance to Ingram’s rootlessness, equally fierce but with a different and maternal slant.
So yeah, it’s a horror novel. But it is also finely crafted, profoundly human and deeply touching. It’s just that damn good.