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Gone South

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  3,169 ratings  ·  124 reviews
It was hell's season, and the air smelled of burning children....

With "one of the most arresting first sentences in contemporary writing" (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Robert McCammon unfurls his visionary masterpiece of survival, redemption, and the astonishing transformations love can create.

GONE SOUTH chronicles a desperate man's journey through a desperate land,...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by Gallery Books (first published 1992)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Arah-Lynda
It was hell’s season, and the air smelled of burning children.

Think you want to read more? Exactly.

Dan is a Vietnam War vet, suffering the lingering effects of Agent Orange. He fought for his country and got pissed on. He has lost everything: his wife, his son, his home. He is on his way to the bank, to see the loans officer, with whom he has a good rapport, in a last ditch effort to keep his truck. But things have changed, most notably the loans officer. A scuffle ensues; the new loans officer...more
Algernon
"It was Hell's season, and the air smelled of burning children."

This is how the journey South of Dan Lambert begins, on a stifling hot summer in Shreveport. The year is 1991, and Dan is painfully reminded of the horrors of the Vietnam War - an experience that scarred him for life both physically, as a result of exposure to Agent Orange, and emotionally, as his PTSD has driven his wife and child away. As if his illness and family troubles were not enough, the country is in a middle of a recessi...more
Ed
Entertaining, gritty, and funny Southern Gothic/noir tale involving a Viet Nam vet who kills a banker and then chased by a pair of unusual bounty hunters for a $15K bounty. Great stuff.
Fred Forbes
I think the British term is "gobsmacked"! What a book! (No I did not read it in a day, I posted a book of similar title back on April 22 and just discovered the error.) This has been my lunch book since then and I must admit it caused me to take a few longer lunch hours than normal. I picked this up at a used bookstore for $1.25 because I thought I had read "Boy's Life" by the same author. Turns out if I did it was so long ago I forgot it but it will become my new lunch book shortly based on the...more
Caley (Katie) Kleczka
I absolutely loved Gone South. Not only does it have some of the most interesting characters I've come across in a while (the bounty hunters will be on my mind for a long time!), but its a compact, concise and well-told story that tries to do a lot of things...and it works. Gone South deftly weaves together war trauma, illness, physical deformity, impersonation, humor, quest, and crime drama, and none of the aforementioned suffers from lack of attention or threatens the cohesiveness of the plot...more
Bonnie
I absolutely love this book. It's a drama, it's a comedy, it's everything in between. McCammon writes the unbelieveable and makes you believe every word of it. His main character is undeniably flawed and certainly does not paint the portrait of a hero - rather, he is a survivor who gains the reader's sympathy and loyalty from the start. The characters are incredible, the plot is crazy, the ending, satisfying. This book is fun, fun, fun!
Alannah
"It was hell's season, and the air smelled of burning children".

Another really good Mccammon Book. The first line hooked me and once I started reading it I couldn't stop.

Belinda
May 18, 2011 Belinda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Belinda by: Sarah T
Shelves: horror-fiction
I read this title as part of a double set with Boy's Life. I enjoyed both and even better, enjoyed finding an author that I would like to read more of their stuff. I find McCammon's writing to be similar to Stephen King's--not in a derivative way, but more in terms of a style or feeling. Boy's Life was much more of a traditional coming of age with a touch of horror kind of thing (a specialty of King's) whereas Gone South contains the following elements: a leukemia stricken, down on his luck Viet...more
Charlene
4.5 stars!

I loved this book!

It's a story of a sick, struggling Vietnam vet who "loses it" when he is denied a loan extension at the bank. That's all I'm going to say about the plot other than general observations.

The characters in the book are truly unique. I wager that you've never met characters like these in any other book, no matter how well read you may be.

This story is serious while also being quite funny and adventurous. This is also a spiritual story, which I find to be true of almost ev...more
Gary
I had never heard of Robert McCammon before joining Goodreads.'Boy's Life' was one of their recommendations (thank you Goodreads) so I decided to give it a go and loved it. This is my second Robert McCammon book and I wasn't disappointed. The characters are so wonderfully drawn and the story so well written and paced, you want to weep with frustration at the end becaise there's no more to read.

The blurb talks about the author's ability to draw 'word pictures' - cinematic is the word that spring...more
Julie
Gone South by Robert R McCammon was published in 1992 is 392 pages long.

Dan Lambert is a Vietnam vet down on his luck. He's divorced, out of work, and sick. His bills are piling up and he is several months behind on his truck payment. When he goes to the bank to speak to the loan manager about working something out so he can keep his truck, he finds a world of trouble. The new bank manager won't give Dan any breathing room and Dan loses his temper. Before it's all said and done a man is killed a...more
Maicie
This book is on par with Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon, which is one of the books I would rescue if my house was on fire.

Dan is a Viet Nam vet suffering from PTSD. He has lost his family, his health and has no job. In a fit of despair, he causes the death of a loan manager about to repossess his truck. Fleeing to escape prison, he runs across some unusual characters.

McCammon seems to have two different writing styles. His mainstream horror writing is fine but he also writes a different kind of horror. I don’t know what to...more
Kathleen Valentine
Quite a departure from McCammon's usual horror fare but very well written and enjoyable. Colorful, filled with strange characters, and an inspiring conclusion.
Scott
McCammon has the wonderful ability to blend local folklore, myth, and personal hardships in his books' misadventures. Here, a Bayou setting offers a mystical untouchable realm where the law does not abide and humanity must take care of itself. The characters in the novel are misfits from the "sideshow-freak" aspect to the fugitive aspect. Gone South's settings are the sweet and sour images of lush Spanish moss covered trees with the subject of a crocodile dangling a crumpled heron from its mouth...more
Carl Alves
Gone South is a bit of a departure from Robert McCammon’s usual horror fare. The story is part adventure, part fantasy (at least hinted at), and strongly character centric. Dan Lambert is a Vietnam vet slowly dying of Agent Orange. After his wife leaves him, and the bank is going to repossess his truck, his sole source of income, he freaks out and kills the bank loan officer. He then goes on the run, and is being tracked by a pair of strange bounty hunters – one who has the unformed arm and head...more
Jordan Anderson
I happen to read. A lot. Anyone can look at my reviews and see that I can safely say reading is one of my favorite hobbies. Because I read so many books every year, it's also a pretty good assumption that I delve into a lot of different genres. I can't pin down my preferred area of reading and that's probably why I switch throughout the whole literary spectrum. I think this also makes me a more well-rounded reader who can discuss a variety of different topics and feel relatively confident about...more
David
Learning about the man behind the books is fascinating, especially when you see how they connect to each other.

After finishing "Boy's Life" mccammon decided he wanted to branch out and try new things, and his editors told him no. They wanted more horror novels, and they didn't want to give him a chance to branch out.

Boy's Life isn't a horror novel, it's a beautiful portrait of magical realism and childhood. Gone South isn't really a horror novel either. While pitched and promoted as a spiritual...more
Mischelle
I read this along time ago and it was good. It was more funny than anything else. Both of the bounty hunters was a trip. They was like comic relief in a horror flick. McCammon was the man back in the day.
Amy
Overall this was a pretty good book with a wonderful ending. The story was about Dan a fugitive on the loose who shot a bank manager out of self defense. He then meets Arden who has a port wine birthmark on her face. They are followed by two bounty hunters into the murky swamps down in New Orleans on a hunt for Arden's Bright Girl who she hopes can remove the birthmark from her face. A good read. McCammon is famous for "A Boy's Life" and "Swan Song". This book rather pales by comparison and shou...more
Catherine Gordon
The book has a strong moral message that basically the outside doesn't matter it is what is inside that counts. With an anti-war message that focuses on the central character who is a Vietnam vet and his inability to integrate into normal life resulting in the loss of his family, his posessions and finally apparently his freedom. The first part of the book deals with the decline of the economy and its consquences on ordinary people and results in a tragedy which also has some interesting points...more
Amanda
I've been a McCammon fan ever since Wolf Hour and Speaks The Nightbird, two remarkably different stories that showcase the author's skill for storytelling. Gone South is no exception, offering readers a modern "Quest" for acceptance and belonging with a title full of double meaning. Its protagonist is out-of-work carpenter Dan Lambert, a bitter Vietnam vet poisoned by agent-orange during the war whose life has "Gone South" ever since his discharge. When the bank threatens to repossess Lambert's...more
Schmacko
I really wish I’d enjoyed this more. I remember in my late teens reading Stinger, Swan Song and Blue World and really appreciating them. I have gone back to books I liked as a teen only to find them wanting now that I’m an adult.

McCammon has also been harsh on his early work. He’s very active online; I have a small fear that he or his fans will find this review. I hope anyone who reads this will understand the respect I have for writers.

The story is about Dan, a Vietnam vet dying of cancer, livi...more
David Agranoff

Gone South is a part of one of may favorite literary sub-genres. Weird Crime, adding horror or bizarro elements to a crime novel almost always works for me. This is one strange southern gothic crime novel but it is so perfectly with brutal and beautiful moments it is hard for me to imagine anyone not enjoying it.

Opening with an amazing first line… “"It was hell's season, and the air smelled of burning children...." It is the story of Dan Lambert a Vietnam vet who is having a rough go of it. He...more
Hunter
McCammon is quickly becoming my favorite author. His stories of incredible situations and characters continue to fascinate me and become some of my favorite stories. This book is no different.

Gone South is the story of Dan Lambert, a Vietnam vet struggling through a recession. He has cancer he believes is caused by agent orange. The last thing he has to his name is his truck and now the bank wants to repossess his last real possession. During an argument Dan kills the bank's loan manager in self...more
Barry
This review does not contain either a synopsis of the story or any spoilers.

First and foremost, Robert McCammon is an absolutely wonderful storyteller. This book kept my interest from beginning to end and was often very difficult to put down. It is not a horror story, as most of McCammon's books are but it does feature some pretty freaky characters ranging from a bounty hunter with a significant physical deformity to a non-stop jabbering, reasonably inept Elvis impersonator. The plot is clever a...more
Michael Hebler
Apr 17, 2013 Michael Hebler rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to Michael by: Nobody
Shelves: horror
Robert McCammon had written one of my favorite novels back in the early 1990's, entitled, The Wolf's Hour. Being placed in what would probably be considered my Top 5 favorite horror/thriller contemporary fiction novels, understandably, it is a pedestal on which I have placed Mr. McCammon. Having said that, perhaps a 2-star rating is slightly severe, but I just can't bring myself to rate higher.

Gone South begins interestingly enough, and I found the lead character Dan Lambert to be easy to relate...more
Thaydra
Dan- a Vietnam vet with PTSD and leukemia- is down on his luck. When the manager of a bank threatens to repossess his only possession (a Chevy pick up truck), he goes a bit crazy. During a scuffle with a guard, he accidentally shoots and kills the bank manager. Now on the run, he is pursued by a bounty hunter with a head and arm growing out of his stomach, and his new recruit sidekick, who is an Elvis impersonator. While on the run, Dan meets a girl with a huge ugly birthmark on her face who is...more
Joshua Buhs
It was . . . OK. The structure worked, both the alternating chapters between the bounty hunters and the murderer (and girl with whom he travels), and the general narrative structure. The problem was that it seemed too obvious. Oh, here is where the two bounty hunters start becoming friends. Oh, here is where the murderer and the woman with whom he travels start to respect each other. Oh, here is where they face a major decision. Etc., etc. The prose was workmanlike, the dialogue fine--but it nev...more
Todd
I can never read just one McCammon at a time, so I used this as a chaser to "The Wolf's Hour," as I had only read it once and didn't have much memory of it. Unfortunately, there are reasons why this was the case. It's hard to put my finger on EXACTLY what bothers me about this book, as McCammon's usual strengths are on display here. It just feels cold to me somehow, as if he was going through the motions without any heart. This was right about the time that McCammon was growing massively frustra...more
Debbie
Different! Very good read that will keep you guessing!

Different! Very good read that will keep you guessing!

This I s the first book I have read by McCammon but it will not be the last. I thoroughly enjoyed the way he wove the characters together to create a very unique story. I can't wait to start my next one!
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Robert McCammon: Gone South-We're Done! SPOILERS AHEAD! 49 14 Sep 30, 2013 09:05AM  
Robert McCammon: September Group Read-Gone South 100 26 Sep 18, 2013 07:37PM  
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Robert Rick McCammon was a full-time horror writer for many years. After taking a hiatus for his family, he returned to writing with an interest in historical fiction.

A new contemporary novel, The Five, was published in May 2011 by Subterranean Press.

The Hunter from the Woods, a collection of novellas and stories featuring Michael Gallatin, the main character from The Wolf's Hour, was published as...more
More about Robert McCammon...
Swan Song Boy's Life The Wolf's Hour They Thirst Mine

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