“Carsten Stroud’s Niceville Trilogy is an authentic work of American genius,”
“and he saved the best for last. THE RECKONING is brilliantly written and hypnotically readable, but this is really a fan letter. I liked NICEVILLE but didn’t get the full effect until THE HOMECOMING, with its brilliant action set-pieces and remarkable prose, which is part Chandler, part Vonnegut, and all Stroud. I hope these three volumes will be published together, so people can get the full effect and appreciate the richness of the sprawling cast. In my mind, Niceville has earned a place with some of the great destinations in the Land of Make Believe, like Middle Earth, Narnia, and Arkham. I’m amazed by the sheer energy and scope of the thing. Also, there’s a broad and cheerfully bawdy sense of humor at work, and for me that’s the touch of sweet that perfectly sets off the dark chocolate of Abel Teague and Company. It crosses genre boundaries with perfect confidence, jumping the crevasses that swallow lesser writers like Virago over those deadfalls. There’s really nothing like it, and nothing to say but bravo. So…”Bravo!”
PS: I still don’t like Rainey Teague. Or trust him.” – Stephen King
From an excellent premise, Mr. Stroud builds a compulsive narrative which recalls the best of Stephen King, but with a twist—as though Elmore Leonard got ahold of a King manuscript just before it was submitted to the publisher and made some subtle alterations, slightly warping the characters and knocking them off center. Some of the characters in Niceville may leave a nasty taste in the mouth, but the overall composition is hearty and satisfying.
The last time I was so swiftly taken over by a work of fiction was probably when I read THE GAME OF THRONES. Carsten Stroud’s wonderful NICEVILLE isn’t really much like George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novel, apart from being equally hard-boiled and engrossing, but it rockets around its deceptively staid southern town, pulling bad guys and worse guys and long-ago misdeeds into a widening and unfolding tale about every kind of wickedness. Somehow it manages to get tighter, nastier, and more delightful as it rolls along toward its lovely and completely black-hearted final pages.
It’s downright spooky how often folk disappear from Niceville streets and houses. On a more mundane level, though no less disturbingly, horrific crimes are being committed—like the precision-timed bank robbery whose follow-through includes the calculated slaughter of a half-dozen pursuing cops and reporters.