Kristine F. Anderson
Fifteen-year-old Lucas Webster doesn't mind working in the fields and chopping cotton on his grandfather's farm in South Georgia, but he hates getting stuck caring for his Uncle Robert. Born with Down Syndrome, Robert is ten years older than Lucas and follows Lucas around like a clumsy shadow. Lucas wants to get out of Crisscross and be rid of his child-like uncle, but after his grandpa dies in the spring of 1948, things change. His grandmother withdraws in her grief and Alvin Earl, Robert's half-brother, returns to manage the farm with his guns and stash of liquor. Lucas must become more than a reluctant caretaker. A hard man, Alvin Earl plans to pull Lucas out of school to work on the farm full-time and send Robert to the state asylum. When a fatal shooting occurs late one hot afternoon, Lucas must decide what to tell the sheriff. As he discovers the ties that can destroy and bind a family, he cannot reveal what really happened to the local authorities or anyone else.
Phyllis L. Seitz on Amazon wrote:
If you like stories filled with emotion, grab a copy of Crooked Truth, and walk with fifteen-year-old Lucas as he navigates life in the rural south in the late 40s and all that comes with that time. Not only does he deal with an uncle born with Down Syndrome, but with the uncle's half-brother, Alvin Earl.
I venture to say that readers will find themselves caught up in the lives of each of these characters. Mrs. Anderson has developed such compelling characters, that my response to them seemed real.
Kristine F. Anderson's debut novel, Crooked Truth, quickly draws in the reader and casts its spell.
Based on real experience, the strong plot marches apace to a powerful climax. The setting is a small farm in rural Georgia in the 40's--with all that THAT location implies. The well-drawn characters complete the elements for a story that feels like reality and resonates with truth. Lucas, an orphaned grandson, lives on the farm with his grandparents and two uncles--one a Downs Syndrome youth and the other, Alvin Earl, a self-centered and cruel adult, who lives recklessly and misuses those he encounters. Lucas' world is gentled by his grandparents' love and the wise tutelage of the black hired couple who work in the house and field. Coming of age in the only home he has ever known, Lucas grows to love the family members dear to him--both white and black. Still, he grapples with death, loss, conflict, violence, racism, and insitutional inhumanity--issues that sadly still thrive.