Cover image for Angel in the front room, devil out back
Angel in the front room, devil out back
Diehl, Stanford.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Atlanta : Longstreet Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
420 pages ; 24 cm
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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With its superbly drawn characters, perfectly crafted plot, and fresh narrative voice, Angel In the Front Room, Devil Out Back announces the arrival of a major new talent in suspense fiction.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Nearly a quarter century ago, in Solomon's Rock, Georgia, a fire broke out at the local roadhouse. The workingwomen who lived upstairs and their customers were all killed. Jackson Moon's lawyer father took payoffs from the man who owned the roadhouse, including one shortly before the fire erupted. Moon's disgust over his father's involvement precipitated his leaving home. Now, after 20 years away--the last few in prison--Moon needs to understand the tragedy. Not everyone shares his interest in local history. Michael "Ghost" Grant, whose empire is built on drug money, is marshaling his associates--criminal and legit--to construct a multimillion-dollar Civil War theme park, and if Moon connects him to the fire, the whole deal could collapse. Diehl's first novel is a southern gothic descendant of In the Heat of the Night. Greed, racism, and an entrenched caste system all conspire to perpetuate the mentality of the Old South, minus the Gone with the Wind gentility. A brooding, suspenseful, and satisfying thriller. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

Handicapped by a scattershot opening, this debut thriller takes a while to build steam, but once it gets going, Diehl's tale of big-time criminal doings in small-town Georgia is unstoppable. Jackie Moon returns to tiny Solomon's Rock, Ga., after a 20-year absence to find his father dying, his mother deeply depressed and his lawyer brother working for drug baron Michael Grant, who still controls the town from his Atlanta jail cell. Jackie fled at 17 when forced by his father and other town leaders to help camouflage the gruesome murder of black prostitutes and their clients by forcing the victims into the attic of a cathouse bar and burning it down around them. His new boxing skills, picked up in a Florida prison, come in handy when the powerful men involved in the crime zero in on Moon and order him out of town. Pushing on with the dubious help of a fellow con, the repulsive Cecil Blanks, and his old girlfriend, Bridgett, Jackie hides out with the local midwife, Leola, who figures prominently in the mystery surrounding the fire and the related death of Senator Sachs the only man to oppose Grant's plan to build a Civil War theme park to launder drug money. Diehl packs almost too much into an earthy narrative that drips smalltown Georgia and boasts a sizable roster of standout characters, villains and heroes alike. The interracial aspects of the tale are rich, and though side plots don't always merge smoothly into the main flow, they are rarely dispensable and add texture. All in all, a good first outing by a talented newcomer. National advertising. (Apr.) FYI: Stanford Diehl is author William Diehl's (Primal Fear) son. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved