I'm a great admirer of the American writer Daniel Woodrell and his books about rednecks and criminals in the Ozark mountains. His best book by far and my personal fav is Winter's Bone. It's the story of Ree Dolly, a tough teenager who has to find her missing father, a crystal meth cook, before her family house is repossessed. The language is gnarly poetry and old testament in that American tradition of Faulkner and Cormac McCarty. The characters are vivid and menacing (Uncle Teardrop, is a particularly scary creation) and Ree herself is a perfectly drawn amalgamation of teenage fury and headstrong responsibility. It holds you firmly, like an evangelical preacher's gaze and makes you listen till the sermons through.
I read recently that it has been made into a film , and that the girl playing Ree, ( Jennifer Lawrence) has been getting rave reviews and the film itself won the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film festival last month.
Let's hope that the filmakers win a decent distribution deal over here and we actually get to see it . These US Indies tend to vanish somewhere over the Atlantic before hitting out screens... And hopefully it's as good as they say, so that more people buy the books and appreciate this underrated writer of poetic and gripping modern fiction. Winter's Bone is a great place to start and if you feel like you want more, then go back to Tomato Red, Give Us a Kiss and Woe To Live On ( which was also made in to a great film called Ride With The Devil, hence the different title on Amazon)
Come on, what you waiting for?