The past does not stay hidden forever.
Annie McIntyre lives in Texas; Garnett, Texas; in God’s country, and “Pay Dirt Road” is her first person narrative. Events from her past, like a blast of Texas weather that one can see coming for miles, dominate her thoughts. She knows everyone and has known them for a while, known them before. She came back to Garnett not for some sense of purpose, but rather because here she was loved and loved well. Now, working in a café, with her college degree going to waste and student loans to be repaid, she wonders how she could be related to these people.
The complex story unfolds by going back and forth in time. Readers learn what they need to know in the order in which they need to know it. The past is complicated; some see it as dark or ugly, but others want to turn over that past and take a closer look. Annie wonders if she had not gone to that place that day, had not witnessed it, would she have done something entirely different with her life. Some people never change; they carry the past with them, and eventually that past must be resolved in the present, and that task falls to Annie. She discovers that details of the story are missing or hidden, but every missing part will lead her to the answer. She could be a good detective; she wants to uncover the truth, to make things right.
“Pay Dirt Road” is filled with of sensory descriptions that pull readers into the story: the quiet except for the road sounds from the highway overpass; the smell of icing filling the room; flecks of dry grass and foxtails stuck to their pant legs; the still air horizon the horizon wavy with shimmering heat. The pace is slow and deliberate but contains enough twists and surprises to keep readers involved.
I received a review copy of “Pay Dirt Road” from Samantha Jayne Allen, St. Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books. It seems at first to be a light read, but as events unfold, the story becomes more complicated, compelling, and addictive.
“Pay Dirt Road” is now available in print, as an e-book, and on audio from independent bookstores, online booksellers, retail stores, public libraries and anywhere you get your books.