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Gods of Howl Mountain

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,700 ratings  ·  495 reviews
In Gods of Howl Mountain, award-winning author Taylor Brown explores a world of folk healers, whiskey-runners, and dark family secrets in the high country of 1950s North Carolina.

Bootlegger Rory Docherty has returned home to the fabled mountain of his childhood - a misty wilderness that holds its secrets close and keeps the outside world at gunpoint. Slowed by a wooden leg
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing

sitting here, trying to figure out how to describe this book, what keeps running through my mind are some of the lyrics from warren zevon’s Indifference of Heaven:

I had a girl
Now she's gone
She left town
Town burned down

which is the quintessence of zevon’s dark-molasses humor, but it’s also a pretty good way to classify authors across the grit-lit spectrum: will they or won’t they burn down the damn town? Frank Bill, Donald Ray Pollock, Clifford Jackman - they will burn their towns
Elyse  Walters
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the third book I️’ve read by Taylor Brown. MY APPRECIATION- RESPECT -
ADMIRATION- and ENJOYMENT has increased with each book!

My first go-around with Taylor Brown’s writing was with “Fallen Land”....which I️ struggled with. I️ appreciated the novel—and could see how many readers found it
remarkable- yet I️ had difficulties ‘feeling’ much emotional connection with the writing.

In “The River of Kings”....I️ was exhilarated with adventure- mystery - and the river itself.... In this story I️ w
Angela M
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Taylor Brown invites the reader to this place and time with such fantastic descriptive writing and in a page you are there . To this mountain in 1950’s North Carolina, to the land of moonshine and makeshift churches where snakes rule, where evil deeds of the past still haunt, to a place of healing herbs and potions, violence, deceit and greed - all so gritty and dark and so beautifully written with a sad love story at the center of it . Brown has such a command of the language, nothing flowery h ...more
Diane S ☔
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
1950's, South Carolina, the place Rory returns to after his service in Korea cost him the part of one leg. He returns to the mountain home of his granny, the women who raised him after his mother was committed to an asylum. Violence visited her, harm irrevocaly changed her life, and she was never able to raise her own son, never spoke again to tell who was responsible.

To read a Taylor Brown novel is to be drawn into the world he creates. His use of imagery, makes one feel as if they were actuall
Norma * Traveling Sister and proud Grandma!!!
Just because I loved this one so much thought I would update with.....
Happy Publication Day to Taylor Brown!

Wow!  This was my first book by Taylor Brown and I was totally blown away with how vividly descriptive and enjoyable this novel was!  This book quickly went into my favourite reads shelf for 2018!

Update: Oh, and I forgot to mention that I LOVE that cover!!

GODS OF HOWL MOUNTAIN by TAYLOR BROWN is a gritty, dark, intense, and compelling historical fiction novel that had me totally engaged, e
This was my first read of Taylor Brown and I was simply bowled over by this multilayered historical southern, character driven, family drama. Brown beautifully and atmospherically evokes the mountainous Appalachians of North Carolina and its quirky, eccentric people and their secrets. Rory Docherty is back from the Korean War, with his troubled memories and pictures of death that haunt him. After losing his leg, he now makes his way with a wooden leg, which slows him down considerably. Work is s ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
“Because dying’s better than wishing you had.”

It's the 1950's and Rory Docherty has returned home from the Korean War with a wooden leg. It's hard to find good-paying legitimate work with a wooden leg, so Rory has become a whisky-runner. He makes deliveries to brothels, roadhouses, and private clients. Haunted by horrific dreams of the war, he lives with his grandmother, Maybelline “Granny May” Docherty. She is known for many things on the mountain, one of which is being a healer. People come to
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
5 gritty, vivid, whiskey-running stars to Gods of Howl Mountain 🥃 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Have you ever heard of the Carolina parakeet, a now extinct colorful bird native to North Carolina? It plays a role in this book, and I have an interesting, but sad, connection to that beautiful bird. I had a beloved parakeet named Freddy as a child. We used to let Freddy out of his cage to fly around the house (I know! 👀 Recipe for disaster, right?!). One day I opened the door to take my bike outside, and Freddy flew ou
Mary Beth
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it

I love the bookcover!

Rory was in the Korean War and he was a Korean War Vet. He comes back home to Howl Mountain with a wooden leg. The time is 1952. The story takes place in the mountains of North Carolina. Rory is now living with his Granny May. His Mom had something terrible happen to her and she is in a mental hospital and she can not speak. This is a mystery to Rory, and he wants to find out why she is locked up in the mental institution, which he finds out is a dark family secret. When Ro
Spokes in the wheel......

Rory Docherty finds himself, returning once again, as part of the irregular circle of that familiar wheel. People are "born hard" in Howl Mountain in North Carolina. It's the 1950's and Rory treads the backroads leaving one definitive footprint and the other a bit misshapened. Rory lost his foot in a bloody battle in the Korean War. Funny how one's identity gathers in a multitude of places.

Granny May Docherty listens to the rhythmic sound of the rungs of her old rocking
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, net-galley
4 sassy southern stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This book was true southern grit lit (I didn’t even know that was a thing, but it sure does describe this book perfectly)... I really do enjoy southern Fiction.... the south seems to be very rich with fascinating history.....

This was a character driven novel and I absolutely adored the characters in this book.... Granny May was the best! if I lived in the appellations in the 50s I’d want to be just like her.... without her past.... OK maybe I wouldn’t want to be just l
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
After reading two other books by this author and not connecting with them I had said I wasn't going to try him again.
I lied.
Or more likely I forgot I said it.

BUT look at that cover!


And that blurb had me from hello.

And I didn't hate it! It is the story of a former Korean War vet named Rory who has come home to his mountains and is running whiskey through those mountains. He lives at home with his Granny May.
Granny May I love you! Granny May used to be a whore..she gave that up afte
Susanne  Strong
3.5 Stars* (rounded down)

It was a time of whiskey runs, bootlegging and herbal medicines and potions used to aid those in need. On Howl Mountain, the living was hard. Granny May Docherty all but lost her daughter years ago in a horrible incident. Now her daughter lives is in a hospital, mute and unresponsive. Granny May has done what she had to do to survive and though most everyone judges her for it - most use her services for something or other. Rory Docherty came home from the Korean War a c
If you like prominent descriptive prose, you're going to love Taylor Brown and his new offering....GODS OF HOWL MOUNTAIN!

Set in the high country of 1950's North Carolina amidst bootleggers and folk healers, there are secrets to discover, battles to be won and a mystery to solve.

Combined with engrossing characters like the pipe-smoking Granny May with her potions and fearless ways....Rory, her disabled grandson with his nightmares of war torn bodies on the Korean battlefield....AND his mother Bon

Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grit-lit
Holy hoe-down on Howl Mountain. Moonshine, mountain men, mega fast paced grit.

Brown has a talent for delivering and doesn’t disappoint with this one. Rory, a Korean war vet, has returned one legged. The only skill he knows is the moonshine runs and along the way finds some snake worshippers, a love and the criminals who left his mom mute. He’s got a rockin’ Grandma who would do anything to save her grandson.

Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: Esil
Shelves: i-said, top

And just like that Taylor Brown knocks it out of the park.

The machine started at dusk, headlights slashing their way down the old switchbacks that ribbed the mountain’s slopes, thunder and echo of thunder vaulting through the ridges and hollers on every side. The road sawed down out of high country, angling against valleys welled with darkness, past ridges hewn by dynamite, at times following the pale sinews of logging roads that lashed these hills half a century before. It poured ever

”When you can't find the light
That got you through the cloudy days
When the stars ain't shinin' bright
You feel like you've lost you're way
When the candlelight of home
Burns so very far away
Well, you got to let your soul shine
Just like my daddy used to say

“He used to say soulshine
It's better than sunshine
It's better than moonshine
Damn sure better than rain

“I grew up thinkin' I had it made
Gonna make it on my own
Life can take the strongest man
Make him feel so alone

“Now sometimes I
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
4.5 stars
Wow!! Talk about being able to set a scene and paint a picture. I’ve never read anything by Taylor Brown before. But we are talking some serious wordsmithing here.

The North Carolina Mountains of the 1950s are their own world. It’s a world of bootleggers, snake handling preachers, racing and herbalists. Rory Docherty now sports a wooden leg from his time in the Korean War but that doesn’t stop him from running bootleg whiskey in his 1940 Ford coupe. His grandmother is an herbalist who’s
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Gods of Howl Mountain was the first book I've read by Taylor Brown. He has a very distinctive style and sensibility. Set in the mountains of North Carolina in the 1950s, Brown portrays an insular world with its own rules and sense of justice. This is a gritty story full of moonshine, home remedies, corruption, car racing, dark religion and rough justice. The story is focused on Rory and his Granny. Rory is a recent Korean War veteran, who lost part of his leg in the war and now runs moonshine fo ...more
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
**I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads giveaway program. Publication date is March 20, 2018

This is Southern Grit Lit at its best. Atmospheric and full of intrigue and action, there’s the cut-throat business of whiskey running, secrets galore, vengeance, herbal folk healing, snake-handling preachers, brothels, lawless lawmen, violence, and mountain justice, all delivered with a prose that makes you feel as if you are right there in the midst of it. Life was hard and the p
Bam cooks the books ;-)
One of my favorite books of 2017 was If The Creek Don't Rise, set in the remote hills of North Carolina in 1970. Now here I am again, absolutely loving another work of historical fiction set in the hills of NC, this time in the fall of 1952.

Ex-Marine Rory Docherty has returned from the Korean conflict missing his left leg below the knee, but that hasn't stopped him from running moonshine down into the valley below in his souped-up car for the big boss Eustace.

Rory lives in the hills with his G
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is a hard one to rate. Based on literary merit alone, I would say this one deserves at least 4 stars for its incredibly atmospheric, descriptive writing that made me feel like, from the very first paragraph, I was being transported deep into the mountains of 1950s North Carolina, into the world inhabited by a one-legged whiskey runner named Rory and his feisty folk-healer grandmother Maybelline (Granny May). Throughout the story, there was a generous amount of vivid description that of ...more
Cathrine ☯️
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
4✚ 🥃 🥃 🥃 🥃s
Appalachian Rhapsody.
Taylor Brown had me wrapped around his writing pinkie from the get-go.
Vivid characters, addictive storytelling, and white lightening prose went down in straight shots ricocheting up to my brain triggering all the reading reward circuits.
Is there a slamming-the-shot-glass-down emoji? Can I get a chaser!
I’m also bestowing a best character award for Granny May Docherty, a woman after my own heart. Can I get an Amen!
I could be sad it's over but I haven’t read the man
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 wonderfully written stars

Life in the fifties in this mountain community was vividly portrayed by Taylor Brown. Coming back from war is always difficult. To return to the normalcy of life is a task many face, witnessing the horribleness of war, time, the smell of death, the toll it takes on your mind, heart and soul.

For Rory Docherty, coming back home also meant coming back to the rural mountains of his birth. He has lost a leg to war, and returns to a place where both an internal and extern
I've never really enjoyed novels set in the bootlegging mountains of Southern USA before with the often hard nosed, amoral types of characters they depict. However, the writing in this novel is so good and the characters lives and motives so well laid out that it's hard not to engage with the story. Sure there are some tough, gritty characters who are often violent but it was the 1950s and to survive in the back country despite little education and poverty wasn't easy.

Rory Docherty is back from
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Brown’s writing is nothing short of cinematic. This is my first experience with Brown and I am impressed. Rory returns from the Korean War (minus a leg) to his potion-concocting Granny May and Appalachian mountain home. He runs whiskey, races stock cars and falls in love. Buried secrets of the past inform the present. Of course, nothing remains buried forever. This is a gritty Southern novel that I mostly enjoyed. The stock car racing scenes, while well written, just didn’t interest me. However, ...more
Brenda -Traveling Sister
I read Gods of Howl Mountain with six of my Traveling Sisters and this one turned out to be a very interesting sister read as we were split into two very different coulees with very different views on this one. At times I was wondering if we were even reading the same book.

For five of the Traveling Sisters including Norma they were lost in the dewy meadows of the lush coulee while one other TS and I were lost in the looming darkness of the rocky dry coulee looking for some of that moonshine to
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

Mountain lore, spirits of the whispering trees, moonshine, snake worship and spirit healers! Taylor Brown delivers another tale of amazing intrinsic atmosphere both in place and time. Nostalgically and robust, rooted deeply in Appalachian folklore, this story travels into the depths of a small mountain community of the 1950’s.

Maybelline Docherty, or also called “Granny May” has the wisdom of healers past. Living in her cabin away in the mountains, some believe her to be a witch. With her bac
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was excellent, I really enjoyed it! I was sad when it ended. The descriptive writing made me feel like I was there in the mountains of North Carolina. Life in Howl Mountain is dark and intense. I could feel the cold air and the tension between the characters. Rory was my favorite character in this book, my heart ached for him. I liked Granny Mae too. This book reminded me of Winter's Bone, which I loved. I can see this being made into a movie.

"Dark came fast into the valleys, a flood of sha
Paul Falk
This ARC was was received complements of NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Gratitude sent to St. Martin's Press for allowing this pre-release to be made available.

I have a soft spot reserved for history served up Americana style, especially, the early to mid part of the 20th century. This novel stood boldly defiant in the face of bootleggers, thieves and scoundrels scattered throughout the mountains of North Carolina. So grab your scattergun and get ready for the ride of your life. A
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NetGalley Readers: Buddy Read: Gods of Howl Mountain by Taylor Brown - Pub Mar 20 29 50 Apr 03, 2018 07:27AM  
On the Southern L...: St. Martin Press Free Read 23 66 Feb 05, 2018 06:49AM  
Angela, Esil and Diane discuss 51 20 Oct 24, 2017 06:39PM  
Fans of Southern ...: Taylor Brown 1 16 Oct 12, 2017 01:27PM  
The Rough South: Taylor Brown 1 17 Oct 12, 2017 01:26PM  

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Taylor Brown is a recipient of the Montana Prize in Fiction, and he's been a finalist for the Press 53 Open Awards, Machigonne Fiction Contest, and Doris Betts Fiction Prize. He is the author of In the Season of Blood and Gold (Press 53, 2014), Fallen Land (St. Martin's, 2016), The River of Kings (St. Martin's, 2017), Gods of Howl Mountain (St. Martin's, 2018), and Pride of Eden (St. Martin's, 202 ...more

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