The Hoodoo Of Peckerwood Finch

Jerome Mark Antil is not new to the writing world the sheer quality of the writing proves that. The author is a born story teller. At 270 pages Mamma’s Moon is not a a lengthy book, but it is by no means a quick read, Antil’s writing style means that every word counts.

The action centers around 4 New Orleans residents, Peck, Gabe, Lily Cup and Sasha. The characters are so well developed that you can almost reach out and touch them, I do hope that this eclectic group of friends will return in future books.

Mamma’s Moon is actually the second book featuring the four unlikely friends and the book is billed as a ‘stand alone’ story, however I have a gut feel that I should have read book one One More Last Dance, if for no other reason than to get an idea of the history of the characters.

The book contains two plots, the sub plot concerns Gabe, an elderly black man, a retired veteran who stands accused of beating a young white man to death with his cane. Is Gabe a vicious old man prone to wanton acts of violence to his fellow human beings? Is the young man a harmless victim, or a ruthless thug? New Orleans is known for having an element of violence, but it tends to reveal itself after dark and be fueled by liquor. This crime occurred in the middle of the day and everyone was sober.

This is an interesting aperitif to the main course. Peck, real name Boudreaux Clement Finch. A young man who had run away from home at age 9, and had lived by his wits and knowledge of the Louisiana swamps to eke out an existence.

Making Gabes acquaintance had changed his life, in just one short year Peck had learned to read and write, drive, and fall in love. Millie has his heart, there is only one minor wrinkle, what should Peck tell her about his family and his childhood?

And so starts a very fine adventure. Peck remembers little about his early years and most of those memories are unpleasant ones. Other than a basic idea of the location of his childhood, Peck has few clues, possibly the name of a girl he knew and nothing else. Armed with this information he sets out to trace his roots.

I am not sure I want to share much more of the plot. Mamma’s Moon is well crafted and the reader is taken on a number of side journeys, some are intrinsic to the plot, others are just delightful excursions into the psyche of man.

Peck is a complex character, book smart he is not, but he is wise beyond his years. Actually all of the characters are intriguing, you want to bump into them in a bar and drink and talk to them. Lily Cup, the lawyer with some unusual habits concerning murder cases, Sasha the real estate mogul who loves Jazz and dancing, and the dashing Gabe, old, debonair, and no-one’s fool. Other supporting cast members abound, the most memorable of which is William, I think it is fair to say he is a ‘stand up’ guy.

Yes, this is a book that you should read.

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