“Man in the Blue Moon” by Michael Morris / Monday, November 26, 2012 / Reviewed by Clay Stafford

Today’s featured book is Man in the Blue Moon by Michael Morris.

"Man in the Blue Moon" by Michael Morris

The rich get richer and the poor…keep fighting them off.

Why Clay Stafford chose this book:

You have to ask yourself, what has Michael Morris been doing all these years? Morris is one of our best Southern writers and I think it has been at least 10 years since he released his last book…until “Man in the Blue Moon.” I guess he was storing up the power shot. This is a wonderful book set in Florida during World War I.

A stranger comes to town in one of the most unusual entrances I think I’ve read. “He could never relieve himself of the sins of the father. The past shaded his mind until at times he was certain darkness had overtaken him.” As I read, I was not sure, at times, if it was the stranger’s story or the woman whom he befriends, but by the end, it becomes clear that it is the story of all of them, the entire community. There is a nice mix of quirky characters. Highly emotional. The stranger, the protagonist, the three diverse sons, the caretaker, the balanced ministers, the odd little girl, even the absentee husband, and all the other more minor characters are all well-defined. The plot and characters are in constant forward motion: they are changing characters within a changing world with fundamentals solidly set in the past. “Mark my word, we’re living in the end times.” As a Southerner, I’ve heard that before…actually last Sunday.

It is Southern literature, but it is also a work that breaks out of the box of locality. You’ll find themes of love, community, and forgiveness, which are some of the strongest catalysts in a writer’s toolbox. It takes place outside Apalachicola, Florida in a dying town called Dead Lakes, but it could have just as easily been set anywhere. These are real people. You see it in the way they react to the same singular situations: “Beyond belief.” “Lifesaver.” “Voodoo.” It’s one of those books that will have you wondering about the characters long after you’ve put the novel away.

“Innocence and justice sometimes don’t go hand in hand,” Michael Morris writes, but they certainly are emotional powerhouses to write about. Will she keep her farm? Will she not? Much healing water flows through the Dead Lakes before we finally have that answer.

From Amazon:

He’s a gambler at best. A con artist at worst, her aunt had said of the handlebar-mustached man who snatched Ella Wallace away from her dreams of studying art in France. Eighteen years later, that man has disappeared, leaving Ella alone and struggling to support her three sons. While the world is embroiled in World War I, Ella fights her own personal battle to keep the mystical Florida land that has been in her family for generations from the hands of an unscrupulous banker. When a mysterious man arrives at Ella’s door in an unconventional way, he convinces her he can help her avoid foreclosure, and a tenuous trust begins. But as the fight for Ella’s land intensifies, it becomes evident that things are not as they appear. Hypocrisy and murder soon shake the coastal town of Apalachicola and jeopardize Ella’s family.”

If you want to make your own comments on this selection, we would love to hear from you. Join our Facebook Killer Nashville group page or our blog and join in the discussion.

Remember that these books are listed at a discount through Amazon. You also don’t have to purchase the version that is featured here. Many of these books are available in multiple formats: e–book, hardcover, softcover, and audio. Enjoy!

– Clay Stafford, Founder of Killer Nashville