The Kudzu Kid
by Darrell Laurant
My rating: 4 stars
Publication Date: September 1, 2014
Publisher: Koehler Books
Print Length: 278 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
As a series of
circumstances assail Southside Echo editor Eddie Fogarty, whose
arrogance got him fired from his previous job at a high-profile
metropolitan newspaper, he learns that there are compelling stories even
in the smallest of places. In the process, he is forced to decipher the
complex web of relationships between county citizens, their local
government and their newspaper. When one of his few friends in Randolph
County, high school football coach Randy Akers, is charged with an
improper sexual relationship with an underage girl, Fogarty has to work
through a painful conflict between his feelings and his job. When it
turns out that a proposed landfill for the county has its roots in
organized crime, the Echo editor must risk his life to break the story.
Eventually, he discovers that his primary motive has changed from
personal advancement to service to his new community. The Kudzu Kid is a
novel about culture shock, personal redemption, and the enormous affect
one small newspaper can have on its community.
The Kudzu Kid by Darrell Laurant
Sometimes falling from grace in the big league newspaper industry can teach a lesson in valuing the simpler things in life. Eddie Fogarty had it all a top position at a high profile newspaper, but a twist of fate landed him in the unemployment line, still arrogant, but determined to return to the industry he knows so well. Taking up in a small town where everyone knows everyone else, high school achievements are big news, who has the best pie at the county fair, Eddie is feeling what is happening around him fails to incite newsworthy events and is determined to turn this weekly paper into a clone of the “big boys.” When serious conflicts between presenting the news and his personal feeling suddenly arise, Eddie is caught between forging ahead or finding his conscience again. Organized crime is attempting to buy up property to open a new landfill and the new Eddie has decided uncovering this deeply buried secret is worth risking everything for the town he has learned to feel at home in.
The Kudzu Kid by Darrell Laurant is a bittersweet journey for its main character as he learns to value the human side behind every story, cherish friendships not based on power or politics. Eddie realizes that a truly successful life doesn’t come with a corner office, gold nameplate and “friends” who would throw you to the wolves in a heartbeat for a chance to be on top.
Darrell Laurant has solidly nailed the small town feel as he builds his world around a man who fits in about as well as a square peg in a round hole. Charming characters abound as the townsfolk come to life with each page. This is not a fast-paced thriller, this is a journey of change and dealing with real-life people who find value in all that happens around them. This truly is a tale to be enjoyed and even smirk at when the big city guy meets his match in Smalltown, America.
I received this copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.