Little Boy Blu by Cara Brookins
The Wild Rose Press, Inc., 2014
Available: Paperback, Kindle
Novels set in Appalachia will always hold a certain mystique: there’s a certain air about the location found only in a few places in America. In Little Boy Blu, readers will find themselves immersed in a dense atmosphere comprised of heavy forests, mountains, moonshine stills, and a culture that entices, amazes, and often frightens those outside of this geographic microcosm. This is what makes Cara Brookins’ tale so tantalizing.
Brookins is the author of the very successful Timeshifters series, and has now penned what just might become a staple in the genre. Based on true stories of the “blue” people of Kentucky, Little Boy Blu centers around a family living far away from the mainstream, deep within the woods, where time and civilization often fail to penetrate. Blu Tracey was born with an anomaly—he’s the only one in his family who does not sport the blue-tinged skin. This characteristic gives them a disturbing bond and also places a target on their souls.
Blu’s mother sold out her family for a reality show, but her pseudo-fame didn’t quite pan out the way she had planned. Her own story is chronicled alongside Blu’s during a journey where he discovers that someone is trying to kill him. But is the killer from the world outside their own, or from someplace much closer?
Many threads weave together into a story as profound as the mountain song that echoes through the hills and flows down the rivers and streams which bisect Blu’s world. Little Boy Blu is Southern Gothic crossbred with a tight thriller. It sings with Brookins’ stylish writing, smoother than the ‘shine found in those hills, but just as potent. Her characters are the backbone of the story, and will entice just before punching the reader in the heart with twists and turns that work on so many levels. Tough to categorize but very easy to love, I recommend giving this fine novel a shot. Recommended for age 15 and up.
Reviewed by David Simms