Feb 4, 2022
Set in 1973, Paul Attaway has written a book featuring Charleston, South Carolina, family relationships, and murder. Raw, gritty, realistic, Blood in the Low Country isn't your usual Christian fiction mystery fare, but the story (as much as I was able to read) was riveting. Caveat: this book focuses on the murder and rape (off-page) of a young girl and includes occasional language that reflects the evil of the killer. Please read 3-star and below reviews on Amazon before deciding if the book is for you. I got sick right after this interview, so I cannot speak to how frequent or "intense" the sort of language is, but I was assured the crime does not happen on the page). What drew me most was how the author tried to show the difference between "acting religious" and true faith that changes you.
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Back in December, I had a wonderful conversation with Paul Attaway about his debut novel, Blood in the Low Country that takes place in the South, in and near Charleston, South Carolina. I'd only gotten started reading when we had the interview, and right afterward, I got sick so I didn't get to finish. Talking about this first book in an expected trilogy (with more related books to come), left me eager to finish, despite being a bit cautious about content.
Paul tells us he chose to write story featuring a mystery, of course, but also father-son relationships. His own wonderful relationship with his father and his son prompted that decision. Well, that and the age-old advice to "write what you know." It always amazes me how often authors do that--either deliberately in his case or accidentally (in mine).
Paul Attaway doesn't consider his book to be overtly Christian fiction, but the faith elements he described sounds like it to me. Not to mention all the reviewers who didn't appreciate that faith content. This is one of the problems with modern Christian fiction. Readers have expectations. The Christian fiction market has long been focused on squeaky-clean content. I'll admit it. That's my personal preference.
While I may not be alone in that preference, there is an emerging readership who want fiction that feels more "authentic" to situations. Paul Attaway writes to that audience. One thing I didn't ask about was sexual content, and it didn't come up in our discussion. For what it's worth, I would have thought it would have come up in our discussion of reviews. I just can't make promises, but I will put an update here once I've finished the book.
Step back in time a bit. The year is 1973, and by all appearances, Monty Atkins has a wonderful life. Along with his wife, Rose, the girl of his dreams he met in college, they are raising two boys, Eli and Walker. Humble but competitive, Monty is slowly but steadily building a profitable and well-respected law practice in beautiful Charleston, SC. His hard work, steeped in a deeply engrained Protestant work ethic, is paying dividends in the form of a second home on Kiawah Island and membership in the exclusive Wappoo Country Club.
Rose, an aspiring socialite, chairs committees and works tirelessly for her church and the school their boys attend.
So, yes, Monty Atkins has a wonderful life, until he doesn’t. In a flash, everything changes when a brutal murder and a shocking betrayal turn their world upside down. Brewing beneath the surface lurks a conspiracy of lies about who they are and what they believe. The wellspring of deception and ensuing dysfunction that threaten to destroy all they have built is Rose’s past, a past she can’t outrun.
In the hunt for the killer, Monty draws the ire of one of Charleston’s most prominent businessmen, who sets out to destroy him. Monty now faces a multi-front battle, one to save his family, one to save his business, and one to save his life.
Step back in time and immerse yourself in a taut, tension-filled thriller where the genteel veneer of life in the South lived by those for whom Sunday Brunch at the Club is as holy as that morning’s church service is stripped away.
You can learn more about Paul Attaway on his WEBSITE.