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Hell at the Breech by Tom Franklin
Tom Franklin's debut novel, Hell at the Breech, is based on events that took place in rural Alabama in 1897. An aspiring politician who represents the poor tenant farmers is mysteriously murdered. The farmers form the Hell-at-the-Breech gang to exact their vengeance on townspeople they suspect are involved in the murder. As their violence grows from revenge to terror, the townspeople form their own posse to fight back. Caught in the middle are the reluctant, aging sheriff, and the young boys who accidentally killed the politician. It's not just a novel about a long-forgotten feud in Alabama, but an understanding of the elements that lead to class warfare and the courage involved in those who must stand for what is right, regardless of how unpopular that may be at the moment. The Portland Oregonian calls Hell at the Breech "a particularly gory Southern gothic potboiler, raised from melodrama to literature by Franklin's burning talent."