I Never Do This
by Anesa Miller
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Pub Date 16 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 15 Apr 2024
“I will tell all in full truth and will hold nothing back to protect myself from the eyes of the law...I’m the only one who can tell it all.”
In country noir style, we hear the unforgettable voice of a young woman, LaDene Faye Howell, who finds herself in police custody recounting her story after her paroled cousin Bobbie Frank appears and engages her in a crime spree.
LaDene Faye Howell grew up in the small town of Devola on an oxbow of the Muskingum River in southeast Ohio. Her conservative family is deeply religious, although another branch of the Howell clan are notorious criminals. When one of her outlaw relatives returns from prison, LaDene hopes the two of them may share an evening of fun, or even a spark of romance. Instead, Bobby Frank embroils her in kidnapping their old high school principal.
Taken into custody, LaDene recounts her misadventures in the form of a dramatic monologue. Pledging to “tell all in full truth” she hopes to keep herself out of jail and perhaps even soften Bobby’s likely sentence. She aims to capture her listeners’ sympathy by recounting a history she has never shared before: her teenage pregnancy and confinement at an unforgiving evangelical facility for wayward girls.
"LaDene’s voice propels us as she recounts her life of family dysfunction, religious fundamentalism, abuse, and how we can’t escape the darker impulses of family even when we think we’ve broken from them. As her story unfolds, we witness how fast a person’s life can unravel from a chance encounter. What I love is that the book starts with the confession of a crime, and suspense lies in how the heroine ended up there. For me, this makes it more compelling than the classic mystery or thriller. This suspense holds us to the end we thought we saw coming, but didn’t." —Jerry D. Mathes II, author of Shipwrecks and Other Stories and Ahead of the Flaming Front: A Life on Fire
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