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A Haunting Southern Gothic Tale - an Editorial Review of "King of Nod"

Book Blurb:

“Folks say evil can’t cross water,” she told the boy, “which is why islands is ripe with all kinds’a inbred nastiness.”

Sweetpatch Island, South Carolina, 1971. For young Boo Taylor it’s a land of lush salt marshes and sun-soaked beaches, rich in history and folklore—yet steeped in superstition and hiding a terrifying secret.

After twenty years of self-imposed exile, Boo is summoned home to Sweetpatch upon news of his father’s strange death to face the friends and enemies of his youth, including his long-forsaken love. It seems everything he ran away from—the bigotry, the violence, the betrayal—has been buried under a modern landscape of golf courses and luxury hotels. Yet his homecoming reawakens the ancient forces that haunt the island and seek to right a centuries-old crime.

Scott Fad’s Southern Gothic masterwork, King of Nod, layers time and secrets in an intricate pattern of half-truths and glimpses of redemption to unravel the island’s great mystery—and its inexorable connection to Boo’s own fate.

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Author Bio:

Scott Fad is an award-winning novelist, an accomplished artist, and a retired health plan executive. The father of two is also a former bouncer, boxer, bricklayer, blackbelt and marathoner. Originally from Newark, Delaware and a graduate of the University of Delaware, he now writes, paints, fishes and runs a consulting business from his home on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Editorial Review:

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Attempted rape; teenage potty mouth; same thematic issues as in "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker, and "Beloved" by Toni Morrison; this book is extremely REAL in the depiction of life, racism, and growing up in the Southern Low Country of the 1930s-50s

Ice crystals glittered, melted in her eyes. She was made of cinnamon and molasses, burnt wood, rusted bedsprings, pine soap, cypress hides. Her dress was the rag she used to mop floors. “Come hippy-hoppin right up to my garden where I'se pullin weeds. Well, I look at him. An' he look at me. Then you know what that jasper went an' done?” The boy lowered the frog and watched her closely. “Why, Mr. Boo, that ol' frog get to talkin. Jes open his little mouth and talk, plain as you talkin to me. An' he say, 'Is you the guffer doctor?'”

Stunning. Brilliant. Sumptuous. If you were to take all the elements of Toni Morrison's Beloved, John Steinbeck's East of Eden, Stephen King's The Body (Stand by Me), the southern feel of To Kill a Mockingbird, and the literary genius of Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind, and put them into one book... this is it. When someone mentions the name of Boo Radley, an immediate picture comes to mind. In no other book that this reviewer can think of, is there another impact character with the name of Boo, until this one.

Boo Taylor is one of the most outstanding examples of a dimensional character in historical fiction. This is one of those books which gives the reader several moments of pause to absorb the prose, the connection to the characters, the scene, the story... well, just everything. This story is ready-made to become a major motion picture, a shoe-in for DiCaprio and an Oscar on the horizon.

In the annals of literary prowess, there emerges a work so profoundly captivating, so exquisitely woven with words that it transmutes the ordinary reader into an ardent participant within its narrative tapestry. Such is the case with the mesmerizing opus that is this book, a profound symphony of prose that defies the conventional and enthralls the soul.

Upon the verdant shores of Sweetpatch Island, amidst the yearning whispers of its salt marshes and the golden embrace of sun-soaked beaches, young Boo Taylor once found solace and trepidation. The year was 1971—a time when the island pulsated with a tapestry woven from the richness of history, the cadence of folklore, and an undercurrent of superstition, concealing a spine-chilling secret in its bosom.

Lot a' things happen on this ground since the sea give birth to it, an' I guess I been 'round t'see most of it. Lot of evil blood been spilt into this ground. Lot of good blood, too. Mr. Boo, maybe you been 'bout the best thing done happen on this ground in a while. You is a fine boy. You gonna be a fine man, too... someday.”

For two decades, Boo had exiled himself from the land that cradled his childhood memories, enveloped in the cloak of his own solitude. However, upon receiving the somber tidings of his father’s peculiar demise, the summoning chords of fate drew him back to the shores of Sweetpatch. In returning, he found himself face-to-face once more with the companions and adversaries of his youth, including the love he had long forsaken.

Sweetpatch, it appeared, had undergone a transformation—a metamorphosis that veiled the bigotry, the violence, and the betrayals of yesteryears beneath a veneer of opulent golf courses and extravagant hotels. Yet, as Boo's homecoming unfurled, it stirred ancient forces that had slumbered, their shadows stretching back through the annals of time, seeking retribution for a crime entrenched in the island's lore for centuries.

Within the pages of Scott Fad's magnum opus, "King of Nod," the essence of Southern Gothic finds its zenith. Fad, an architect of narratives, deftly interweaves the strands of time and secrecy, entwining them in a mosaic of half-truths and fleeting glimpses of redemption. Through his artistry, the great mystery that enshrouds Sweetpatch and its palpable connection to Boo's destiny unfurls like a melodic interplay that harmonizes the weight of history with the burdens of the present. Fad, with his pen as his conductor's baton, orchestrates a cadence that resounds with the echoes of the island's past, casting light upon the shadows that linger in Boo's path.

The reader is invited to traverse this grand Opus—an exploration that unearths buried truths and confronts age-old spirits that have remained ensconced within the island's heart. As the layers of time are peeled back, revelations surface, threading together the disparate elements of Boo's existence with the intricate threads of Sweetpatch's enigma.

"King of Nod" stands as a testament to Fad's virtuosity—a testament to his adeptness in wielding the pen as both a brush and a compass, painting vivid scenes while navigating the tempestuous seas of human fate. Through Boo's narrative, the reader is beckoned into a world where the past bleeds into the present, where ancient grievances seek redress, and where the line between reality and the supernatural becomes tantalizingly blurred.

Indeed, Fad's masterpiece serves as a haunting tribute to the Southern Gothic genre—a symphony of mystery and redemption that resonates with the marrow-deep echoes of Sweetpatch Island and the inextricable entwining of Boo's destiny with its timeless tapestry.

To traverse the corridors of this literary marvel is to embark on a journey through a landscape painted not with mere words but with emotions—deep, resonating, and achingly personal. The author, a masterful virtuoso of language, wields each sentence as an artist might wield a brush, imbuing the canvas of the reader's mind with hues of sentiment and sensation.

At the heart of this magnum opus lies the author's remarkable command of the stream of consciousness style—an artistic current that flows ceaselessly, carrying the reader along its meandering path. A style so exuberantly vibrant that its execution leaves one awestruck, admitting, with reverent humility, the inability to replicate such artistry.

The characters populating this literary landscape are not mere figments; they are beings brought to life with such depth and resonance that their presence lingers long after the final page is turned. The author, a maestro of character development, orchestrates a symphony of emotions, deftly conducting the reader's sentiments to love, despise, and mourn alongside these vividly rendered personas.

Central to the allure of this literary marvel is the author's finesse in the art of subtlety. Rather than spoon-feeding the minutiae of the narrative, the author invites readers into a realm where imagination takes flight, allowing each individual to glean their own conclusions—a testament to the author's trust in the reader's capacity for engagement and interpretation.

To immerse oneself in this work is to undertake a journey not solely within the pages but in communal exploration. The shared experience of delving into its depths alongside a book reading companion becomes a treasure trove of revelations and interpretations, uncovering nuances and subtleties, enrich the tapestry of understanding, leaving both participants spellbound and inexorably bound to the characters and the enigmatic Southern setting that serves as their milieu.

This work transcends the mere confines of a genre; it is a symphony encompassing suspense, terror, excitement, humor, and love—a melange of emotions interwoven against the backdrop of a love story. Each element harmonizes with the others, composing a literary fugue that echoes within the reader's soul.

Rarely does a book possess such a magnetic pull, such an irresistible allure that engulfs the reader in its labyrinthine corridors. The initial challenge of acclimating to its unique cadence swiftly gives way to a magnetic attraction, ensnaring the reader within its pages until one is irrevocably captivated.

As the final chapter concludes and the last word is savored, a lingering sense of bereavement descends upon the reader—a poignant ache, a yearning for the characters left behind and the hauntingly beautiful Southern landscape that has become a second home.

This book stands as a testament to the triumph of literature—a transcendent, multifaceted opus that weaves together the strands of human emotion, narrative intrigue, and lyrical splendor with a mastery that is as rare as it is profound. It stands not merely as a work of fiction but as an experience—an evocative journey through the corridors of the human condition, leaving an indelible imprint upon the soul of all those who venture within its pages.

Above, the crowd made an effort not to notice. But Royal knew they did – they were generations-bred island people, saw visions in the tides, sniffed prophesies in the winds; they heard babies dying in the cries of seagulls, sifted for fortunes in the salt and sands. And he knew they were not at all happy with the spectacle of that solitary figure perched at the end of the pier and all that dangerous ocean swell surrounding him, like an albatross come to rest on the deck of a boat with God-knows-what miseries hitched to his wings. It was the perfect harbinger of calamity. For although they were glad to see Boo Taylor again, they were nearly as unanimous in their anxiety. The whisperings had started.


King of Nod” by Scott Fad receives five stars and the “Highly Recommended” award of excellence from The Historical Fiction Company



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