Monday, August 28, 2023

Four top crime novels featuring powerful female characters

Christopher Swann is a bestselling novelist and teacher. A graduate of Woodberry Forest School in Virginia, he earned his Ph.D. in creative writing from Georgia State University. He has been a Townsend Prize finalist, longlisted for the Southern Book Prize, and a winner of the Georgia Author of the Year award. He lives with his wife and two sons in Atlanta, where he is the English department chair at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School.

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Swann's new novel is Never Back Down.

At CrimeReads Swann tagged four crime novels featuring powerful female characters, including:
Gods of Howl Mountain by Taylor Brown (2018)

If Raymond Price, Charles Frazier, and Cormac McCarthy had written a crime novel set in 1950s North Carolina, they might have written this. The protagonist, Rory Docherty, is a bootlegger dodging both federal agents and rival whiskey-runners while haunted by his service in the Korean War, which left him with a wooden leg. Rory is a compelling protagonist, but the standout character is his grandmother, Granny May, a former prostitute turned folk healer. In an atmospheric world of moonshiners, snake healers, and corrupt sheriffs, Granny May is a formidable presence, forging her own way in a violent world that is not bereft of hope. She also gets some of the best lines: “‘Christ’s father let him die on that cross,’ she said. ‘I understand why he done it.’ She leaned closer, whispering: ‘But Christ never had no granny like me.’”
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue