Review by Booklist Review
An odyssey that begins as a quest for a missing father and his money develops into a novel of love and reconciliation. A dazzling comedy of epic proportions. (Ap 1 86)
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Demonstrating a spirited grasp of the genre, Malone (Dingley Falls has written a ``romance novel'' in the original sense: a long tale of chivalrous heroes and extraordinary events. This madcap book bubbles with a frenzy from the first pages, an initially disconcerting pace that rarely allows the reader to catch a breath. With a wink to Cervantes and Dickensas well as the Marx Brothersthe narrative recounts the two-week odyssey of Raleigh Whittier Hayes, an upstanding citizen of Thermopylae, N.C., and Mingo Sheffield, his Sancho Panza. They encounter a bizarre cast of characters during their adventures, including Raleigh's criminal half-brother Gates, his prison buddy Weeper Berg, and aging jazzman Toutant Kingstree. Their quest, to unfairly simplify it, is to recapture Hayes's ailing father, who has escaped from the hospital with a young black woman, and who has left Raleigh a strange set of tasks to fulfill before a planned rendezvous in New Orleans. While tantalized by the promise of a secret treasure at the end of the journey, Hayes uncovers family secrets and Raleigh is granted a large measure of self-enlightenment. This is a highly refreshing tale in which Malone has managed to make the bizarre hilariously credible. 75,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo. (April) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
With braggadocio, Malone says in his acknowledgments that he expects a major movie company to buy Handling Sin. And his novel's scenario does seem designed to outdo Cannonball Run , Peyton Place and, at times, Porky's. It stars Raleigh W. Hayes, Baptist Church stalwart, Civitan regular, staid insurance agent, who miraculously metamorphoses overnight into Bruce Lee/Rocky/Rambo as he totes a pistol, battles the KKK and the other gangsters, poses as an FBI agent, and shades of Mickey Spillainehas sensuous women swooning as he travels from Thermopylae, N.C. to New Orleans with excessively contrived adventures. This episodic novel panders with explicit sexual encounters, manipulated incidents/coincidences, and flagrant reliance on deus ex machina. But, alas, there is little reading pleasure in it. Glenn O. Carey, English Dept., Eastern Kentucky Univ., Richmond (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
With this immense, joyous novel about the bumpy undercurrents in the New South's otherwise smooth flow of domesticity and commerce, Malone (Uncivil Seasons, Dingley Falls) has written the best, most vibrantly comic book of his career. Raleigh Hayes, a 45-year-old insurance salesman and solid citizen of Thermopylae, N.C., is summoned by his roguish old father to collect the loose ends of that father's life and report with them to New Orleans, where--according to Early Hayes--Raleigh will be rewarded with a large inheritance. (Raleigh is rewarded, but not in the way he hopes.) Against all precedents of character and common sense, Raleigh complies, and that is when implausibility takes a back seat to the pure, fast-paced fun that the book becomes. As Raleigh picks up the musty artifacts his father has requested and searches for his reprobate younger brother Gates and for an enigmatic old black man to whom his father seems to owe a debt, he also inadvertently assembles a wild and varied cast of comic characters, each with his own agenda as the group travels south. The charming Gates (Raleigh does find him) is escaping from a small-time Southern mob; his friend Simon Berg is escaping from a half-completed jail term; Toutant, a jazz musician and junk-yard man, wants to go to New Orleans to make his fortunes; and, best of all, Raleigh's fat, fearful, utterly endearing neighbor Mingo Sheffield is fleeing from an imaginary Thermopylaean murder charge and wants to be of help to Raleigh. Together they steal a car, negotiate a cocaine deal, outwit the security staff of a South Carolina theme park, fight a duel, deliver a baby and arrive, each a hero, in New Orleans, where, before Raleigh's father dies a sweet and very moving death, each has a wish granted and a mystery revealed. The mystery revealed to Raleigh is the depth and resonance of his family background, which is the resonance of a South more complex and personal than the one he's lived in until now. Handling Sin--the father's sins, in this case purposely visited on the child--just misses being a classic mostly because of manic action too assiduously pursued. But it's a delightful book that readers will want to savor--at least once. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.