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Sorrow Wood

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  328 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
When the charred body of a promiscuous, self-proclaimed witch is discovered at a farm called Sorrow Wood, nearly everyone in the sleepy town of Sand Valley, Alabama, is drawn into the case. As the murder probe continues, a multitude of secrets are revealed, including one that leads back to the rock castle home of Wendell Blackmon, Sand Valley's police chief, and his belove ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Medallion Press
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Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
A great southern mystery with a twist, thanks to a dead witch. The writing was very good. Glad I grabbed this spontaneous book from the shelves at my local library.
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More often than not the descriptions and reviews tend to give away too much of the plot for my liking, so I try not to read them or read them minimally prior to the actual book. And so sometimes I end up with a book completely different from what I might have expected based on other factors, such as in this case cover art, titles and publishers. And sometimes, as it was the case with Sorrow Wood, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. This book is mismarketed as a murder mystery. There is in f ...more
Naomi Blackburn
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book years ago and can't figure out why I hadn't reviewed it except it was probably my pre-goodreads days. Seeing it on Amazon free kindle triggered it for me.

I absolutely loved this book. Everything about this book was downright creepy from the setting (Alabama backwoods) to the characters (note setting) to the storyline. The author was really able to weave a fantastic whodunit from a list of multiple couldhavedunit characters.

I actually downloaded this book for free, even though I
Thomas Holbrook
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
1985 Sand Valley, Alabama, was protected by the capable policing capabilities of its native son, Wendell Blackmon. The fines he levied were adjudicated by the County Probate Judge, Reva, who happens to be his wife. They met in Seattle during World War II, Reva had lost her parents after they left the dust bowl of Oklahoma and was working in the Naval Shipyard repairing damaged ships; Wendell had escaped an abusive father to the United States Navy. Their life, from meeting in 1943 to 1985, is a ...more
When I first started this book I thought it was going to be a mystery. Before long I realized Sorrow Wood is a love story about Wendell and Reva. Wendell is a sixteen year old boy who fights against his father, eventually running off join the Navy during World War II. Reva has had a life of bad luck, losing both her family and her leg. When she eventually meets Wendell they are instantly attracted to one another. This is not the only time Wendell and Reva have been in love. Reva believes they've ...more
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author hits another one out of the park. I loved "The Front Porch Prophet" so I was thrilled to find another book by Raymond Atkins. At first I was a bit underwhelmed that "Sorrow Wood" didn't start off with the same sort of hilarity, but it soon won me over with that great southern rhythm and quirky characters that Atkins creates so well.

A funny, sad, lovely and dirty tale of love and war, friendships and murder, laughter and tears. Can't wait for the author to wrote a new one!
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sadly, I finished Sorrow Wood last night. Raymond Atkins is my new literary boyfriend. I love every word that man puts on a page....
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reva Blackmon is the probate judge in the small town of Sand Valley, Alabama. Her husband, Wendell is a policeman in the same town where his duties largely consist of breaking up dog fights, investigating alien abductions, extinguishing truck fires, and spending endless hours riding the roads of Sand Valley. The book opens with Wendell contemplating a dead dog and trying to decide if he really wants to arrest Deadhand Riley and Otter Price again. Since Reva and Wendell live above the jail, which ...more
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

As Police Chief Wendell Blackmon investigates the death of an unpopular resident, his memories of the lives and times of Wendell and his wife Reva colour this story with humour and love; from their childhood days of desperate living during the recession, through the wars that destroyed the hopes and dreams of young generations, to the present day as they oversee a quirky population in a small Southern town in Alabama.

The tie between the years is the love between Reva and Wendell, their comfort i
Would have rated it higher but the author's basic premise about the spiritual beliefs of his characters and how they would act is flawed. Otherwise the writing is folksy and charming. The cover, the language and the book just simply don't go together. Uneven.
In the Our-Love-Was-Meant-to-Be category. Cataloged as a mystery (at least in the Broomfield library) but only technically belongs there. Often funny and droll, sometimes poignant, but uneven in the story line.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This one disappointed me.

"The front porch prophet" was such a great book. Interesting and you really felt for the characters. This book felt forced. Like Mr. Atkins researched several subjects and needed to use it all in this book. A couple of characters were well developed but not the main ones. I may try one more book by him but this one really dampened my enthusiasm for his work.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poignant story of survival, love and longing.

A story of a Southern soul that transcends a poverty filled, love deprived up bringing that ends with the epic love we all long for.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Witty, humorous, tragic, powerfull.
Isabel Garay
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beloved-books
Pardon the following rant.

WHY RAYMOND WHY!? Why do you insist on carefully leading me through a gauntlet of emotions? How can you turn a single paragraph into the most joyous moment I have ever read? How can you make death in its horrifying finality feel one one hand like exhaling through a laugh and the next like a jagged lump that Im choking on?

WHY do you have to be so good?

This is the second book Ive read from this author. I began my exploration through Front Porch Prophet which earned its w
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the outset, I knew this story of Wendell and Reva would resonate with me. Raymond Atkins is more than adequate at engaging the reader...........whether it be to laugh, cry or worry about one of the characters. Your heart and soul will be in this book. Once you start it, you will only put it down IF you have to. It had All the makings of the kind of book that I can escape into, and never want to leave, as well as pulling all those emotions from me that I mentioned. If they don't tug at your ...more
Sally Kilpatrick
How would I characterize this book? Definitely artful southern fiction with a voice that rings true. Beautiful prose with a meandering storytelling style that reminds me of some of the best oral story tellers. Even better? Sorrow Wood incorporates elements of mystery and a love story for the ages. I'm not really sure if Ray ever writes anything wrong. If he told me he did, I wouldn't believe him.

The story flips primarily between 1985 and 1939 telling the story of Wendell and Reva. As sheriff of
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I had been eyeing this book at the library for several weeks/months even. Checked it out twice before finally reading it, How funny that one of the main characters has premonitions, feelings... there's is much following of gut instinct.
Hard to say exactly why I like this story so much.... the main characters, Wendell & Reva, are similar to people I know perhaps?
The town (?) of Sand Valley, AL is not so different from the area where I live these days?

Whatever the combo of reasons, I will list
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up, almost gave up on it, put it down and then came back to it. And I'm glad I did. Wonderful writing, lots of tongue in cheek pops at small town America. Lots of back and forth from time to time and place to place. Apart from all the events going on in the current time there is a lot of reference back to to other lives and throughout it all is the most wonderful love story, not slop and romance but real true grit and caring.
Jun 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really really funny! The characters are all so likeable, even the really goofy ones. The author fills you in on all of their lives and does so in a very hilarious Way! There are sad parts, as in all lives, but this was really a great book. I may have to find his other book, I like his way of writing.
Fiona Watkins
I enjoyed the shopping between current day investigations and looking back to the main characters, Wendell and Reva's early lives and the time they met. I liked the way in which the scenes were well described and felt the characters were well rounded. However it isn't a book that will stay with me forever, not a huge problem just a reason for the lower star rating.
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Raymond Atkins' voice. He's like the uncle who comes to your house and tells you stories that make you laugh - and then cry. Sorrow Wood does that. Reminiscent of World War II and my parents' generation, it felt familiar. The story is engaging, the characters fully known and loved. It's a quick read and very satisfying.
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is by the same author as The Front Porch Prophet. I loved that one, and I really liked this one. There is a running section that details the former lives the main character and husband supposedly lived. I didn't like this addition so much, but the story is wonderful, the characters complex and likable. The main character is complimented by an amazing cast of supporting players.
Marla Sommer
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would love to live in Sand Valley Alabama. Raymond Atkins characters are quirky and weird. An example of his writing: speaking of World War Two veterans dying at sea,"Now they were at peace under the waves, weighted to the bottom in their canvas shrouds, waiting patiently for the last trump and a towel".
Babus Ahmed
This is a rather odd book from my perspective, I wasn't quite sure where it was heading while we were taken backwards and forwards in time to 1985. It is at the heart Iditarod crime thriller I think but lends itself to reincarnation and karma.

Not a simple crime thriller but still an entertaining read with charming characters, for those who like something a little off the wall...
Sep 03, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I got a little less than half way through the book and the "mystery" part still hadn't happened. I even tried to skip ahead to the mystery part. I liked the writing and I loved the Stephen King style humor. I loved Reva's philosophy of reincarnation. But there was just too many "aside" stories for want of a better term. Not enough mystery. I couldn't finish it.
Aug 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this story!!!!! I thought it would be much more of a murder mystery but it was a love story of Wendell and Reva. The story was beautifully written and drew me in completely! The characters were developed and interesting and while I was left wanting more, I felt satisfied at the end of the story.
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked the style the book was written in. I enjoyed the interaction between the characters and their histories. The ending was not perfect for all the characters, but neither is life. Atkins will definitely be on my "to read" list.
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a freebie on the Kindle and I absolutely loved it.
Predominately, it is a love story about Wendal and Reva that spans the years.
The writing is beautifully rich and the characters are presented in depth.
Definitely one to reread some time in the future.
Chris Davison
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was Sat on my kindle for three months before I got round to reading it. I'm so glad I did. Not so much a mystery or detective story as a wonderfully love story that spans decades. The story telling itself is a joy and transfixed me so much that some chunks I reread for the joy of it.
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Raymond L. Atkins resides in Rome, Georgia, where he is an instructor of English at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. He lives in a 110-year-old house with a patient wife and a fat dog. His hobbies include people-watching, reading, and watching movies that have no hope of ever achieving credibility.

His first novel, The Front Porch Prophet, was published by Medallion Press in 2008 and was awa
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