Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Random Things Blog Tour - Blackwood

Join me today for a look at Blackwood, a mystery horror novel from Michael Farris Smith.  Many thanks to the author and Anne Cater for coordinating the tour!

TITLE: Blackwood
AUTHOR: Michael Farris Smith
PUBLISHER: No Exit Press
PUBLISHING DATE: March 19, 2020


The small town of Red Bluff, Mississippi, has seen better days, but now seems stuck in a black-and-white photograph from days gone by. Unknowing, the town and its people are about to come alive again, awakening to nightmares, as ghostly whispers have begun to fill the night from the kudzu-covered valley that sits on the edge of town.

When a vagabond family appears on the outskirts, when twin boys and a woman go missing, disappearing beneath the vines, a man with his own twisted past struggles to untangle the secrets in the midst of the town trauma. 

This is a landscape of fear and ghosts, of regret and violence. It is a landscape transformed by the kudzu vines that have enveloped the hills around it, swallowing homes, cars, rivers, and hiding terrible secrets deeper still. Blackwood is the evil in the woods, the wickedness that lurks in all of us. 

Blackwood is probably one of the most interesting Southern Gothic books I've read. In fact, that description is exactly why I picked the book up in the first place.

Red Bluff, Mississippi is a small dying town that holds some secrets.  It starts out with a young boy witnessing his father hanging himself in a garage and if that isn't a way to immediately hook a reader I don't know what is.  Colbert, the young boy, later returns to the town in hopes of rebuilding his life. There is also the remnants of a vagabond family that once came to town with secrets of their own. 

I found this to be one of those books where you kind of want to go into blindly - at least it worked for me.  The town of Red Bluff itself, along with its secrets and evilness, is in fact a character of its own in Blackwood.  In addition, even though there were some pretty dramatic scenes in this book, I also must add that I found it to be a slow, atmospheric read.  I really enjoyed seeing all the twists and turns which took place in this novel and then seeing how they all fit in together. 

If you love Gothic reads, then this is the book for you.  This is definitely an author I will be watching in the future!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Farris Smith is the author of The Fighter, Desperation Road, Rivers, and The Hands of Strangers. He has been awarded the Mississippi Author Award for Fiction, Transatlantic Review Award, and Brick Streets Press Story Award. His novels have
appeared on Best of the Year lists with Esquire, Southern Living, Book Riot, and numerous
others, and have been named Indie Next List, Barnes & Noble Discover, and Amazon Best
of the Month selections. He has been a finalist for the Southern Book Prize, the Gold
Dagger Award in the UK, and the Grand Prix des Lectrices in France, and his essays have
appeared with The New York Times, Bitter Southerner, Garden & Gun, and more. He lives
with his wife and daughters in Oxford, Mississippi.


  1. I love the sound of this. More and more, I love going into books blind so I don't have too many expectations😁

    1. I tend to agree. I've been let down by hyped books in the past.

  2. Ooh...'ghostly whispers from the kudzu-covered valley'. I'm in! :D

  3. I love when a book starts off with a bang and that sure seems to.

  4. It seems like a good time right now for a mystery horror lol. I've really been in that sort of reading mood lately. I love Southern Gothic! This sounds really good!

    1. I know. Given how bad things are right now in the world, I find myself wanting to read about scary things - maybe to put things in perspective. Who knows? I'm a mood reader too so maybe that has something to do with it.

  5. This sounds really good and it sounds like quite the opening. Great review!

  6. I'm always a fan of spooky plants and plant covered things! 👍✨

  7. great title and cover. i would read it because of the southern location.
    sherry @ fundinmental