Hell at the Breech
In 1897, an aspiring politician is mysteriously murdered in the rural area of Alabama known as Mitcham Beat. His outraged friends -- mostly poor cotton farmers -- form a secret society, Hell-at-the-Breech, to punish the townspeople they believe responsible. The hooded members wage a bloody year-long campaign of terror that culminates in a massacre where the innocent suffer...more
That’s the best way I can think of to describe Tom Franklin’s impressive first novel. A surprisingly strong, surprisingly powerful maiden effort that clearly heralds the blooming genius of the talent that would go on to pen Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, one of my favorite novels of 2011. The man can seriously tell stories.
But damn if th ...more
My first son was born in the era when father’s sat in the waiting room. By the ...more
Violent, violent, achingly poignant. I loved this outstanding work by Franklin but will not reread because of the - did I mention? - intense violence.
I will say that this was especially good with the Audible narration - Pine's deep, gravelly voice was perfect. If you have a long road trip, turn on your Kindle-Audible app for this. Alabama cowboy-shoot-em-up with glorious depth and uncomfortable authenticity for the late 1800s rural Alabama. Not as good as Crooked Letter Crooked Let ...more
"Yes, sir," he said.
"Are you willing to kill, if given the order?"
"Willing to die, if it comes to that?"
"In return, you'll get the protection of this inner circle, and of the larger circle without. Since Arch was murdered, we've ...more
Gangbangers of the late 1890's in poor scrapple cotton farming South, seemingl ...more
A couple of months ago, I was browsing through an independent bookstore in Mendocino, California and happened upon HELL AT THE BREECH by Tom Franklin, which was published in 2003 and yet was still stocked on the shelves as a new title. Imagine a chain bookstore holding on to a title that long. I doubt I ever would have discovered the book otherwise ...more
Vigilante “Justice” in the post-Civil War South
Hell at the Breech
By Tom Franklin
HarperCollins, 320 pages, $23.95
It’s a cliché of contemporary fiction: literary novels are character-driven; commercial novels are plot-driven. But surely the best, and most lasting, novels integrate both elements. Hell at the Breech, a remarkable first novel by Tom Franklin, represents a nearly perfect sy ...more
Mitcham Beat, comprising mostly of poor cotton farmers, is arguably one of the roughest rural hamlets in Alabama even by 1898 standards. A secret group of Whitecaps named “Hell at the Breech” keep their own version of law and justice by burning houses, threatening people, poisoning wells, destroying fences, and lynching.
Inspired by true events, I often wondered what rea ...more
His account of the very-real Mitcham Beat "war" (hardly a war, more like an extreme case of territorial pissing, in light of the war-to-end-all-wars twenty years or so preceding it) in antebellum southern Alabama is h ...more
Franklin doesn't shrink from presenting the dire living conditions and tenuous lifestyles of those that live on the fringes of society and he takes his time (almost the fir ...more
Reading along and I thought "This book is going nowhere" and I was contempla ...more
**if one qualm must be had about it, which one doesn’t, but… i would only say that at times i wondered if character behaviors were being fudged to draw hero/villain distinctions for the sake of broader audience appeal, or ...more
|On the Southern L...: Final Impressions, Hell at the Breech, March, 2014||63||60||Apr 22, 2016 07:21PM|
|On the Southern L...: Initial Impressions, Hell at the Breech, March. 2014||32||45||Mar 10, 2014 07:03PM|
|Madison Mega-Mara...: Hell at the Breech by Tom Franklin||2||4||Apr 02, 2012 10:41AM|