My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The year is 1928 and the story of Hyde’s Corner and the Burks family picks up where it left off in Book I. Selmer Burks is traveling with his good friend, Doctor Beaman, and the newest member of the Burks family, baby Thomas. Selmer has murder on his mind and thinks he has the answer to rid Hyde’s Corner and himself of the evil Hyde family once and for all. Thankfully, he abandons this plan and is soon back home and getting on with the business of being sheriff and raising his baby grandson.
We follow the lives of Selmer and Thomas as they form an unbreakable and loving bond. Selmer becomes much more than a grandfather to Thomas. He becomes a father and mentor, who gruffly guides Thomas along in life. Thomas, in turn, loves and idolizes his grandfather, but he desperately attempts to understand and forgive the harsh, murderous actions Selmer directs toward anyone who crosses him. But, as the book progresses we see how difficult it becomes for Thomas to continue to do so.
Hyde’s Corner Book II is darker and more violent than Book I. Selmer is a man who battles some persistent inner demons daily and this spills over into every aspect of his life. This is a story about a relentless struggle of knowing what is right, yet choosing to do some very wrong things. We know that Selmer is a man who is tortured by his past, as well as his present because we see that his methods of self-medication with alcohol has been destroying him over the years. In fact, by the end of the book we wonder if Selmer is literally a man gone mad.
I had a difficult time feeling sorry for Selmer. While he experienced several horrific events earlier in life, he chose to quell his demons by reciprocating in kind with violence of his own; and it didn’t matter that he was sheriff and sworn to uphold the law. On the other hand, I did feel protective of and compassionate towards Thomas, who was merely a victim of circumstance. But, by the end of the book, the reader is left to wonder if Thomas will decide to carry on with the same vengeful, vindictive behavior left off by his grandfather. I find myself hoping this won’t be the case.
Hyde’s Corner Book II is not a stand-alone book. Readers will have to read Book I in order to know and understand the storyline and characters. In my opinion, the author doesn’t lay enough groundwork or help us along with enough flashback scenes to know what happened in Book I. Which is fine, since Book I is definitely worth the read. I would recommend Hyde’s Corner Book II, but just don’t expect a feel-good, uplifting story. Like the title implies, it’s a story of vengeance, addiction, madness and murder.