Wednesday 28 November 2018



Route 12 is two haunting novellas set in Appalachia in the seventies and eighties. These are stories of people down on their luck—a girl crippled by a bad dose of polio vaccine, a young pregnant woman with no one to turn to, a mother desperate for cash who makes a terrible mistake. 

In this debut book from Marietta Miles, God's country is as corrupt as any place on earth and trusting anyone is a dangerous proposition. 

Praise for ROUTE 12: 

“Miles rolls on instinct infused with raw talent, utilizing a palate of emotion to repaint what we thought was Southern noir, turning it into something new, something poignant, something entirely hers.” —Tom Pitts, author of Hustle and Knuckleball

Two novellas here, Route 12 and Blood and Sin

Route 12 was the stronger of the two in my opinion. Very dark, very bleak - early on you have a feeling of dread that things are not going to end well for our protagonists and Miles certainly delivers in that respect.

In a nutshell, two school friends, both outsiders cross paths with a recently released convict.

With more flesh on the bones though, it gives up glimpses of despair, neglect, abuse, incarceration, ill-treatment at the hands of the authorities, violence, loneliness, isolation, disability, troubled families, alcoholism. There's some temporary respite with friendship, hope, acts of kindness, loyalty, love, though those positive feelings are soon quashed at the hands of scheming, wickedness, rape, and worse, though an abiding sense of courage,with determination ultimately prevails, but not undamaged.

Strong, powerful, unsettling. Not a tale that I will forget quickly.

Blood and Sin is another powerful tale, but not one I'm convinced I totally understood. More troubled people, more frailties and weakness on display, more damaged individuals, one of them at the mercy of an evil, twisted man of God doing the Lord's work, adequately enabled by those around him. Not the kind of good deeds, charity and forgiveness of sinners that I associate with God and religion. One of our other characters, deserving of our sympathy, snaps and breaks and erupts in violence.

Overall - very enjoyable - which might not be most appropriate adjective to choose. 
Setting, pace, writing, characters, violence, darkness, with only a few glimpses of light.

4 from 5

My first time reading Marietta Miles but not my last. Well her other work May does sit on my reader.

Read in November, 2018
Published - 2016
Page count - 179
Source - purchased copy
Format - kindle


  1. It does sound awfully potent, Col. It's often those books that refuse to turn away from life's depths that can stay with us for a long time. I'm glad you found this memorable.

    1. Margot, she doesn't flinch at all offering up this pair of novellas.

  2. Ah, this is the one with two novellas. I like that way of trying out an author's work.

    1. It was a great intro to Marietta's work, Tracy

  3. Another one that looks to be well worth reading -- many thanks!

  4. Wonderful writing! The style, the voice, the descriptions, the characters...everything, right on the money!

  5. Col – I’ve read some terrific short fiction by her, and have heard good things about this book as well as MAY.

    1. Elgin, I think you would like this pairing.