Watson, Sterling

Weep No More My Brother
Weep No More My Brother (1978)

Blind Tongues
Blind Tongues (1989)
From Publishers Weekly
Swinford, Fla., is a small town populated with stock characters, among them the novel's protagonist, Merelene Durham. She is an abandoned wifeand a survivor: the self-taught, indispensable secretary to and lover of the town lawyer. Then Merelene's husband, Mayfield, returns to Swinford a self-made millionaire and tries to reclaim his family. But their oldest son is fighting in Vietnam, and their youngest, Roland, the brain-damaged victim of a childhood bout of encephalitis, has been forcibly committed to a state mental institution (on a premise readers will find unbelievable). Merelene's lifeand much of the novelis too frequently described rather than simply shown. Watson ( Weep No More , The Calling ) offers an often clumsy narrative overwrought with poetics that fluctuate between country-western artiness ("I feel your fingers on the strings of my nerves") and very occasional moments of charm ("She felt her heart gather pace, and told it, slow down, but it was the heart that had always galloped at the mention of Mayfield's name, and it did not obey her").
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The Calling
The Calling (1989)
From Publishers Weekly
Blackford "Toad" Turlow is an unassuming young Southerner who aspires to be a famous writer. While enduring relative poverty in Florida, Toad works in a convenience store, eats at the Gutbomb and enthusiastically joins a writing seminar taught by his idol, celebrated novelist Eldon Odom. Sitting in the "egosphere" of the classroom with Odom's idiosyncratic disciples, including a sexual-device salesman and a Virginia Woolf look-alike, Toad becomes mesmerized by his teacher. But the young man's veneration turns to disenchantment when he observes Odom and his students at rowdy gatherings, where the hard-bitten novelist blithely uses drugs and participates in a gang rape. These sobering experiences impart new depth to Toad's writing, but his relationships with Odom's wife and mistress soon prove dangerously distracting. The author deftly fuses sardonic wit and graphic realism to portray Toad's growing maturity and his depraved idol's downfall. Watson (Weep No More My Brother also vividly renders Odom's repugnant private life, with its share of amorality and casually inflicted malice.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Deadly Sweet
Deadly Sweet (1994)
From Publishers Weekly
Watson (Weep No More My Brother) has created a stunning, intricate bit of Florida noir in this story about Eddy Priest, a non-practicing lawyer aiming for the simple life as a sailboat salesman on Florida's west coast. Beautiful Corey Darrow tells him of a plot to discredit her in her water management job in Okee City, north of Miami, and of her fears that she is being followed by someone driving an old Cadillac convertible. Eddie, smitten, suggests she's imagining things. When she's found in her car, drowned in a drainage canal with a Magnum in her hand, Eddie is guilt-stricken. Corey's equally beautiful sister, Sawnie, asks his help in probing Corey's death. Eddie is smitten all over again, and soon he and Sawnie are deep in a struggle with a ruthless sugar planter and his homicidal henchmen, two of the nastiest villains of recent fiction. It's hair-raising fun to watch the colorful characters work their own agendas. Sawnie, e.g., a top aide (and ex-mistress) of the populist governor, wants to run for Congress. Some spectacularly gorey deaths and a sudden bloody ending leave the suggestion that Eddie and Sawnie will continue the story. Readers will look forward to that.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Sweet Dream Baby
Sweet Dream Baby (2002)
From Publishers Weekly
America's loss of innocence in the rock and roll 1950s parallels one boy's painful transformation into a man in Watson's affecting fifth novel (Deadly Sweet, etc.). Twelve-year-old Travis is having a tough childhood: his beloved Japanese mother is in a mental institution, leaving him in the care of his emotionally unavailable Marine father, and he is constantly tormented by a redneck teenage neighbor. His life changes dramatically when he leaves Omaha to spend the summer with his father's family in Widow Rock, Fla. Travis's grandfather is the town's stern sheriff, his grandmother is often bedridden with headaches or heat exhaustion and his saucy Aunt Delia ("the subject of eighty percent of all Widow Rock Gossip Reports") is a 16-year-old spitfire. Travis is smitten by her verve from the moment she screeches to a halt in her '55 Chevy, and aunt and nephew bond quickly. Delia trusts her secrets with Travis, and he gains a masculine sense of protectiveness as he learns about the power of sex, lust and violence. The novel's take on the social politics of a small Southern town is predictable, and the secondary characters tend to fall into stock categories (the arrogant rich boy, the tough but sensitive greaser), but this is easily forgivable because Watson portrays the rich relationship between Travis and Delia with convincing psychological detail. Besotted with Delia, Travis loses emotional control and commits an outrageous act. The suspense builds to an explosive ending, and Travis's coming of age is brutal, touching and memorable. While Watson breaks no new ground here, he proves himself a first-rate storyteller. (Nov.) Forecast: Regional sales in the South could start this novel on a word-of-mouth upswing. 150,000 first printing.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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