Back last November, I was asked by Patti Abbott if I wanted to be a part of her "Friday's Forgotten Books" blog postings. I said yes, without reservation, and the piece on Milton T. Burton and his excellent novel "The Sweet And The Dead" ran yesterday. With additional commentary from Patti Abbott on other authors/books and comments on my review it is at:
For those who would prefer to read the piece here, I have posted it below:
Milton T. Burton broke onto the crime scene a few years back with his powerful debut novel, “The Rogues’ Game.”
Set in an unnamed West Texas small town, the book tells the tale of an unnamed narrator who arrives in town to play cards and carry out an act of revenge. The con is the thing and the heavily atmospheric and complex book twists and turns all the way to the end. While I really enjoyed that book, I think his second novel, which came out in 2006 is a bit better.
Titled “The Sweet And The Dead” the book is set in the fall of 1970 in Mississippi where Manfred Eugene "Hog" Webern is deep undercover in Biloxi.
Hog is a retired Dallas County Deputy Sheriff, a good man, and a damn good cop despite the word on the street. It is coincidence and nothing more that he got into some money at approximately the same time his former partner was gunned down and a couple of other nasty things happened. The word on the street is that Hog is dirty which makes him a perfect candidate to investigate from the inside the group dubbed the "Dixie Mafia."
Bob Wallace is a Texas Ranger and a man that Hog has worked with before more than once and a man that Hog trusts without question. Wallace tells him that Curtis Blanchard, one of the chief felony investigators for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety wants Hog to come to Mississippi, hook up with Jasper Sparks, head of the aforementioned Dixie Mafia, and gather enough evidence to bring Jasper and as many others as possible down. Hog agrees for several reasons and before long finds himself deep undercover in a twisting case that seems to know no end.
In both of Milton’s books, the tales twist and turn on themselves and features a main character full of internal demons and unresolved guilt who is seeking his own form of justice. A dark hero who finds a brand of honor in the criminal element and one isn’t sure about the character’s motivations until the final word on the last page.
Books that I simply can’t say enough good things about or do justice to in reviews. The author, like his characters, goes quietly about his business and eschews the limelight and self promotion that so many routinely engage in on every forum possible. Milton T. Burton deserves considerably more acclaim than he is getting and his books deserve a place on your reading list.
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