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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Smoke on the Mountains by Sam Knupp, the year is 2018 and a Coalition, including Antifa and Black Lives Matter, has arrived in Timberville, Virginia from Charlottesville. Tensions are high as people have had enough of the uncertainty and feeling that they are not being listened to. The statue of Stonewall Jackson, a brave general killed by his own men, is torn down in a stand against his view on slavery. The Coalition hopes to make America great again. No sooner has the Coalition arrived and set up camp when a child called Pepper Anne disappears while searching for her dog. When one of its high profile and well-respected residents is questioned, the people of Timberville realise everyone is under suspicion and no one can be trusted.
For me, this was a heartwarming look at human nature. I loved each and every character; they were unique to one another and the detail the author has put into each of them was outstanding. I thought Reverend Marvel Goodman was an impressive character, full of wisdom and with a love for his community and everyone that attended his church. The relationship between the residents as the search for Pepper Anne’s killer ensues was a superb example of weaving different plots into each other. I also found the way the writer describes scenes of violence was not graphic; he used his talent for descriptive writing instead. The words of wisdom at the end of each chapter were a great addition and relevant to the story line, my favourite being, ‘the poorest man owns many things. The richest man isn't owned.’ This book had everything for me; an emotional search for a missing child, gripping twists in the plot and an ending that I was not expecting. A fantastic novel and highly recommended.