This novel, the latest from author Kevin Lynn Helmick, is a great read and highly recommended. I wrote about this work before a few months back, pre-publication, but the book has now been released through Blank Slate Press. I read the manuscript in galley and I thought it was fantastic. I honestly can't wait to read the actual book.
Helmick's prose is so natural, and so real, he presents you with that greatest of all reading experiences: the feeling that you've lived the story. I still have moments where I think I lived through scenes from his earlier novel, Heartland Gothic, and have those same `flashbacks' when I remember scenes from Driving Alone. I really need an uninterrupted month or two so I can just sit and read through his books slowly; even though, after that, I might not be able to tell my actual life from the stories. Memorable characters, brilliant dialogue, and vivid landscapes are all woven together by Helmick to give a reader an honest and unforgettable experience.
Below is a brief blurb about the book from the Blank Slate Press site:
"Billy Keyhoe is a loser whose luck just ran out. After beating his girlfriend to a bloody pulp and being shot at by the clerk of the convenience store he was trying to rob, Billy takes off in his daddy’s beat-up 66 Caddy on a road trip from Waycross, GA toward West Texas. On the way, he picks up a beautiful hitchhiker, Feather, who seems to know more about him than he knows himself. As they drive, he slowly realizes his life is being judged and that he has to finally face up to his past. The farther they go, the more Billy is drawn to Feather until he realizes he “had fallen in love somewhere out there in the night, with something or someone, or just an idea, it wasn’t clear.” But what was clear was that Billy had never been in love before, that he didn’t understand what love could do to a man, and that he’d never “done one fuckin thing right” in his entire life until he’d picked up Feather. Unfortunately for Billy, he discovers that even true love cannot save him."
Their website is here: http://blankslatepress.com/authors/kevin-lynn-helmick/
PRAISE FOR DRIVING ALONE:
Finished reading Driving Alone by Kevin Lynn Helmick. Driving Alone recasts the manic pixie dream girl as a noir, bruised angel of judgement wandering the back roads of the American South, waiting at the crossroads to be picked up by desperate drivers running from themselves. Highly recommended. You’ll want to grab this when it comes out.
- Spinetingler magazine
Driving Alone is gorgeously grim new take on redemption and romance. It is unsettling and provocative; combining the classic romance of the open road with the claustrophobia of a morality play. If Hell is other people, Driving Alone has the Devil riding shotgun.
- Jared Shurin, reviewer for Pornokitsch, director and literary judge for The Kitschies
Hardboiled, hardbitten and haunting as well as lyrically libidinous and lovingly lascivious, Kevin Lynn Helmick tackles sex and death along the lost highway the way the damned do—alone.
- Jedidiah Ayres, author of A F*ckload of Shorts
An intense nightmare that shimmers with beauty and darkness. Helmick broils these characters in southern humidity and human tragedy until the reader is left sweating, breathless and amazed.
- Fred Venturini, author of The Samaritan
A journey into darkness and painful self-discovery … a brilliantly lyrical and richly painted hybrid of noir and magic realism. Superb.
- Paul D. Brazill- The Gumshoe, Guns Of Brixton, Drunk On The Moon.