Bull Mountain

Bull Mountain

Book - 2015
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In a sweeping narrative spanning decades and told from alternating points of view, this incredibly assured debut novel brilliantly evokes the atmosphere of the mountain and its inhabitants: forbidding, loyal, gritty, and ruthless. Bull Mountain heralds a major new talent in fiction.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, 2015.
Edition: Large print edition.
ISBN: 9781410483812
1410483819
Characteristics: 417 pages ; 23 cm.

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j
jimg2000
Dec 19, 2016

“We’ve done okay so far.”
“You’re not seeing the big picture, Coop. We should be doing better than okay. We should be working smarter, not harder.
===
“Good morning, Sheriff.”
“Well, that’s up for debate, Cricket.”
===
No offense, but it’s just a big rock in the hottest, stickiest state in the union.
===
I knew what your family was when I met you and I hated it, but I loved you anyway. I couldn’t help it. I didn’t want to help it. Every cell in my body screamed at me to pack up and move as far away from this place— away from you— as possible. But I couldn’t. My heart wouldn’t let me. My mama told me not to marry you because of where you came from. Who you came from. I told her she was wrong. I knew it was a gamble, and I’m not ashamed to admit some part of me was even turned on by who you were. What girl doesn’t want to be swept away by the outlaw?

j
jimg2000
Dec 19, 2016

“It’s not his fault.” “Don’t start with the it’s-the-way-he-was-raised routine. I thought we agreed on this. You were raised by the same man he was, and you don’t sell poison to children.”
===
“Nothing makes a U.S. federal law enforcement agency drool more than a huge pile of money. Nothing, except of course, a bigger pile. That’s what I’ve got in Florida— a bigger pile. ..."
===
“There is a subtle symbiotic relationship between the land up here and the people who call it home that folks like yourself never seem to fully understand, no matter how many files you read, or training scenarios you run. ..."
===
The sheriff shook the agent’s hand and matched his firm grip. Every fed that ever walked through that door felt it was necessary to conduct a dick-measuring contest with a viselike handshake. This G-man was no different.
===
“I’m only fifty percent American Indian, boss. The rest of me is one hundred percent good ol’-fashioned redneck.”

j
jimg2000
Dec 19, 2016

It reminded her of the Peanuts cartoon where Lucy holds the football for Charlie Brown to kick. Everyone knows she’s going to snatch it away at the last minute and poor Charlie is going to land flat on his back; even he knows it, but he does it anyway out of sheer faith in the goodness of the world.
===
She loved him, of that there was no doubt, but she’d never once claimed to understand him. At what point in your life do you just accept a spade for being a spade and move on?
===
“I’m your family now. I come first. That’s what you promised me when you put that ring on my finger, and you aren’t getting out of it. Ever. ..."
===
The idea of a drink always sounded better than the actual act of drinking itself. He’d quit drinking so he could have conversations like this one with his wife without ending up on the couch thinking about how to apologize for being an asshole, but still, it sounded good.

j
jimg2000
Dec 19, 2016

The top dog is still just a dog ...
===
Val was a solid-muscled farm boy, every bit of three hundred pounds. He was also black as night, no stars. He looked like a mountain of Kentucky coal in a flannel shirt.
===
Annette had always heard that blood was spilt by the bucketful on Bull Mountain. Hell, she’d even witnessed some of it, but she also knew from experience that sometimes it happened one drop at a time.
===
She wondered when she’d gotten so bitter. She should be happy. If not now, when?
===
He was broken, and she liked fixing broken things. She didn’t know that about herself then but she knew it now, and this close to forty, she might as well start admitting it. She also knew Clayton would have done anything for her back then. Anything. And that kind of power over a man, in the hands of a twenty-six-year-old woman, could be dangerous. She liked that, too.

j
jimg2000
Dec 19, 2016

Cooper used to say there was no dignity in birth or death. You entered the world helpless, naked and alone, and you were more than likely to go out the same way. Gareth didn’t necessarily agree with that, but there was no shortage of indignation in these woods. “Well, old man. I guess that’s that.”
===
“You never got it. This isn’t God’s country. It’s my country. Mine. It always has been and always will be. God don’t have nothing to say about it up here. ..."
===
Clayton’s drinking wasn’t a wildfire turning his life into a blazing inferno, it was a fine layer of rust slowly decaying and dissolving his marriage.
===
“I heard that. A happy wife is a happy life.”
“Words to live by.”
===
“A brother, probably picking up some quick cash on his way back to Atlanta.” Because all brothers originate from Atlanta. Everybody knows that.

j
jimg2000
Dec 19, 2016

Clayton closed his eyes and held the glass to his nose. It smelled of oak, vanilla, and bad decisions.
===
Tonight Nicole wore a shiny black sequined top that sparkled under the bar lights and dark blue jeans tight enough to keep a man Clayton’s age looking straight ahead, in fear of feeling like a dirty old man.
===
And that’s how it happens, he thought. One drink, on a particularly bad day, and a year’s sobriety blown to hell like it never happened. Clayton was sure, by night’s end, he’d be a smoker again, too, but these revelations weren’t enough to keep him from walking into the bar.
===
“You can’t sneak up on the man who has spent his life in the woods sneaking up on things. .."

j
jimg2000
Dec 19, 2016

“Who are you and what do you want?”
“Mrs. Burroughs?”
“I know my name. I asked who you are.”
===
“And now he’s dead.”
“As Elvis. ..."
===
“He’s an asshole.” Nicole leaned in close to Clayton’s ear. “Hell, Sheriff, show me a drunk who ain’t.”
===
Confusion spread over Big Joe’s face like a rash. “Goddamn, Clayton, I was just cuttin’ up.” (Cutting up is like acting up or acting a fool.)

j
jimg2000
Dec 19, 2016

The man in the mask smiled under his balaclava and watched the older man’s face go solemn as every possible escape scenario played out across it. Can I get to my gun on the table first before this intruder can pick his up from his lap? Is my safety on? How many steps to the front door? Can I rush the man in the chair before he has time to shoot? Are my homeboys still outside, toking down? In the end, he decided to play it cool and maybe talk his way out.
===
He thought it was beautiful. He thought everything about her was beautiful. Even more so now that the sadness was gone, as if it had evaporated along with her breath. He laid his head on her chest and closed his eyes. He stayed like that for minutes or hours. It could have been either.

j
jimg2000
Dec 19, 2016

The hangover was brutal. He felt like an overcooked, thoroughly dried-out Thanksgiving turkey stuffed with cold sweat and cigarette ashes. The worst part was that, even now, he still craved the bourbon. He always would. Just a few fingers to even him out. Clear his head. The only moisture in his body was in his mouth, watering at the thought.
===
He had pictures of this one in the file he was putting together on Wilcombe, but to see her in person was breathtaking.
===
He flicked his eyes to the massive gun on the table. Only three feet, but it might as well be the span of the Grand Canyon.

j
jimg2000
Dec 19, 2016

They shared a moment of crushing sadness that tightened her chest and suddenly made it hard to breathe. It was the kind of sadness brought on by turning corners that led you to places there was no finding your way home from. They had both looked deep within themselves and found an ugliness that couldn’t be stuffed back inside.
===
" ...He told me all about his brother the sheriff, who turned a blind eye to everything going on up here. At least the rest of them admitted to being outlaws. You’re just another criminal who thinks he can dress up like one of the good guys and that washes the stink off him.”
===
It sucks having a junkie in the family. There’s no telling what they’ll do to stay high.

Comment

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j
jimg2000
Dec 19, 2016

Saw the generally positive comments on this crime family saga by this unheard of author and decided to check it out (2016 Thriller Award Winner for Best First Novel.) About quarter way through, it began to resemble the venerable TV series "Justified" based on Elmore Leonard's "Fire in the Hole," except location is the mountain in Georgia instead of Kentucky. Not just a page turner but a hard to put down southern noir, a serious love story and a vendetta because sins of the father run deep and family bonds are bound by blood. The author is an Elmore fan as he professed in an interview in "Summary."

b
becker
Jul 05, 2016

There is nothing original about this plot and the writing was pretty darn plain but I have to admit I got pulled into the story and had some fun with this.

v
vv8
Jan 24, 2016

Bull Mountain surrounds a family in northern Georgia, where drugs, weapons, and wealth are top priorities, often at the expense of human life. The book walks its readers through this family's brutal rise to the top, spanning multiple generations through several points of view. Fast-paced, gritty, violent, and raw, Bull Mountain is a debut novel that reminded me of all the reasons I enjoy the 'grit lit' genre.

h
hanstra
Jan 19, 2016

One of the best I've read in a while. Gritty, real, intense, and extremely hard to put down once I started. The multiple POVs were actually effective rather than a jumble of back-stories, and all came together well. The ending may have been a bit easy to predict, but still satisfying and (thankfully) a bit less grim than the ending of a Cormac McCarthy story, which would otherwise be a fair comparison to this work.

m
msummers57
Sep 07, 2015

The first 2/3 of the book is a 4- 4.5, the final third is a 2. Very strong start, predictable finish.

MedinaReads Aug 12, 2015

Bull Mountain transports you to the back-hills of modern day northern Georgia where a small town sheriff is trying
to keep the peace. But unfortunately, a bitter family feud, illegal guns, illegal drugs, a whole lot of money, and a FBI agent trying to make a name for himself keep getting in the way.
I found this book to be very interesting, easy to read, and VERY hard to put down. It is an impressive inaugural
novel by this author. If you enjoy a book with intrigue and the barely contained threat of violence at every turn, give it a try. But be careful. Just when you think you have it figured out... WHAM... another perfectly timed shocking event
will keep you reading for another hour or two. Recommended by K.V., Highland Library, MCDL

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j
jimg2000
Dec 19, 2016

‘Bull Mountain,’ A Conversation With Brian Panowich:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-rubinstein/bull-mountain-a-conversat_b_7742628.html

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