The Drifter's Wheel
St. Martin's, Jun 2008, $24.95
In Georgia Appalachia, an odd stranger calls on folklorist Fever Devilin. The young man is a ball of nervous passionate energy as he relates his story to Devilin. Unable to sit quietly, he insists he is a century old and fervently begins telling Devilin about his past as he claims to have survived gas warfare in the European trenches during WWI and learning to tango following a murder At Madam Biscoe’s House in the Windy City. Soon after his fervor slows down a bit he pulls out a gun, but falls into a deep sleep in the middle of some rant.
Devilin assumes the sleeping stranger is either on drugs or simply loco so he calls the sheriff, who tells him he has received similar calls; however before Skid reaches Fever’s home, the vagrant vanishes. The next morning the murdered corpse of a drifter, wearing the identical clothes as Fever's visitor, is found. Devilin needs to know if the victim was his strange storyteller so he investigates the homicide.
The latest Devilin regional amateur sleuth is not an easy read as the stranger is so abnormal with his rant, his gun, and his abrupt nap he is frightening yet so real. While totally disturbing the reader, he also absorbs the audience like he did Devilin with a need to know the truth of who he is, how he got to this point in which his sanity is questioned, and is he dead; if not who is. THE DRIFTER’S WHEEL is thought provoking, gripping and well written, but haunting as this tale will stay with readers long afterward.