Josh Devlin has left his confining, mapped-out future for the lure of the road. So far, it’s not really working out that well. First he lands in a homeless shelter in the middle of an icy December, and then he runs into Alice, a teenage runaway hiding in a nearby boxcar. Alice has amnesia and, it turns out, a truckload of troubles following her. Focusing his missing sense of purpose on helping her (even if it’s against her will), Josh is determined to help her regain her memory and get to the bottom of the mystery that threatens her.
Twilight of the Drifter is rich with Southern-backwoods atmosphere, which does lend an intriguing sort of Gothic romance to the story. Unfortunately the writing is also very disjointed and stream-of-consciousness, which makes the plot hard to follow- not an advantage in a mystery novel! I can understand why the author choose this style, as the main character is clearly looking for an On The Road experience, but it would be better suited to literary fiction than to a genre novel.
Despite a promising, suspenseful beginning, I was unable to get into this book at all. I never really got to know the characters or their backstories, and their dialogue was so jargon-filled that much of the time I couldn’t even understand what they were saying. To be completely honest, after I was finished with the book I couldn’t have told you for certain what happened in it.
If you’re really interested in Southern culture and history, this might be worth a read for the atmosphere alone, but in my opinion it’s too confusing to be a satisfying mystery.
Title: Twilight of the Drifter
Author: Shelly Frome
Publication: Sunbury Press, Inc. (November 28, 2011)
Price: $4.99 (Kindle), $16.95 (paperback)