Cover Image: Beasts of the Earth

Beasts of the Earth

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Member Reviews

In James Wade’s Beasts of the Earth, the story follows the lives of two main characters in alternating chapters during different generations. 

In small town 1987 Texas, Harlan LeBlanc is a grounds keeper for Carter Hills High School. By outward appearances and behavior, LeBlanc is a refined, gentle man, similar to that of a milquetoast. LeBlanc is most interested in a regular, day-to-day life hoping for the absence of turmoil and drama.  

Prone to ridicule and taunting by not only his neighbor but some of his co-workers, LeBlanc becomes friendly with a troubled, young co-worker that soon finds himself accused of a horrible crime.  In the belief in the boy’s innocence, LeBlanc interjects himself into the investigation which soon leads others to question his own possible involvement in the crime when inconsistencies regarding LeBlanc come to light. 

In the swamps of 1965 Louisiana, young boy Michael Fischer barely exists with his younger sister and cruel mother in a world defined by poverty and hardship. Michael’s mother is devoutly loyal to her thought to be imprisoned and even more cruel husband, Mundy Fischer. With Munday’s unexpected release and return home, it is more like the devil crossing the threshold rather than an absent father.  

After more than one traumatic event, Michael flees the home and is soon taken in by a kind older man that slowly instills within Michael the importance of goodness and the meaning of remaining good even in a world where evil walks among us.

Beasts of the Earth is not just a crime novel and more of a contemplative novel of what it takes to be a good person when evil envelopes us and especially if a person may have taken extreme measures to overcome such evil. 

The writing in Beasts of the Earth is wonderfully descriptive and rich in detail and form, which may cause many readers to re-read sentences to fully enjoy their lush composition. 

Netgalley provided an ARC of Beasts of the Earth upon the promise of a fair review.
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Distractingly overwritten, unfortunately, which creates a distance from the narrative and characters.
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I received this from Netgalley.com. 

"Interweaving stories, exploring themes of time, fate, and free will, to produce a revelatory conclusion that is both beautiful and heartbreaking."  

Although an okay read, I didn't find this story very compelling and never connected with the characters. 

2.25☆
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Beasts of the Earth by James Wade was a well crafted story. 
Wade is a remarkable and very gifted author.
This is an impressive and stunning book! 
The author's storytelling is one of a kind. 
The descriptions were beyond vivid and the characters hooked me immediately.
I enjoyed this story and read it in one day! 

“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

Blackstone,
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
I will post my review to my blog, platforms, BookBub, B&N, Kobo and Waterstone closer to pub date.
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What an absolutely amazing, beautiful and powerful book. James Wade is a lyricist with the written word. I will be thinking about this story for a long time. Some books just seep into your soul and stay with you. This is one of those rare books. A gift to those of us who love to read. Thank you James Wade.
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Beasts of the Earth maybe James Wade's best work yet. I have been a fan since his debut novel All Things Left Wild, but his writing talent has matured and this book has a depth that comes from a seasoned author.

This book intertwines two stories happening twenty years apart. 

Michael Fischer is a young boy whose never had the opportunity to be a child. His violent father has wreaked havoc on his family and he is left to pick up the pieces of their shattered life. When his father's return from prison threatens his life he runs off to the bayou where he is rescued by a poet.

Twenty years later a murder shocks the small town and Harlen LeBlanc a soft spoken maintenance man can't believe that his co-worker was involved. He goes against the grain, and endangers himself in order to prove who was really behind the atrocious act.

The thing about James Wade writing is it is so decadent. It's the kind of literary voice you either love or you hate but you FEEL to your bones. I for one love the languorous descriptions and the fullness that his voice gives to his books and characters. This book proves beyond a doubt that James Wade is a true voice for the rural American experience.
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A high school maintenance man with a dark past tries to clear his coworker of murder. The murder mystery and the mystery of Harlen LeBlanc's past will keep you riveted from page one.
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This was my first time reading this author and I really enjoyed this book! GREAT characters, good solid story line. I saw afterwards that he has two more books available and bought them immediately. The synopses of both sounded right up my alley. I have a new author to stalk. Lol.
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Wade’s Beasts of the Earth, his forthcoming and latest novel, could be subtitled the Ballad Of Harlan LeBlanc. It is a lyrical haunting descriptive tale that threads the needle between heaven and hell, between good and evil, between penance and guilt. It is one if those stories that is thick and rich and absorbing.

We begin with two separate alternating points of view. One is an odd duck named Harlan LeBlanc who lives a quiet life in an East Texas town where he works as a high school groundskeeper, keeps to himself, makes no small talk, and, if you asked him, he would say his favorite book is Of Mice and Men. He doesn’t bother anyone and just lives a simple life until all hell breaks loose and he finds himself near the center of the maelstrom.

The other narrative balancing against LeBlanc’s world is that of Michael whose father is returning from prison after serving his term for child molestation. Michael’s world is a dark legend of pain and misery in the swamp. He hates his father, but then everyone does. He’s just a kid and he’s trapped.

It’s a fable about two innocents coming face to face with evil and feeling guilt for how they deal with it, guilt that will haunt them all their days. It’s a dark tale, but told with such poetry.
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