Review: ‘Fate’s Arrows 4’: (Florida Folk Magic Stories) by Malcolm R Campbell

Genres: historical, adventure, fantasy

Description: this is a story about how the Ku Klux Klan operated in Florida in the nineteen fifties, leavened with a sprinkling of southern conjure magic. Turns out the KKK aren’t very bright and it is easier to confuse them than you might think, or might be deemed wise, considering they like setting fire to things and are usually heavily armed. So a silent approach might work best: a bow and arrows?

Author: Malcolm R Campbell is an author who has lived in the Florida panhandle (where this novel is set) and is old enough to remember the final days of the KKK. His anger about that organisation continues to burn, and this is an angry book. Coincidentally, it has been released when we must, once again, reiterate that Black Lives Matter and that racism is a foul thing which must be resisted wherever it is encountered.

Appraisal: I enjoyed this book a lot. It’s set in Torreya, a fictional town in the Florida panhandle, in the mid nineteen fifties. Domination by the KKK ran deep at that time in those southern places. All the same, although it put their lives in danger, there were those who resisted.

Campbell’s cast of characters include people the reader has met before in the first three books of his Florida Magic series. Favourites Eulalie, Willy Tate and the mind-speaking cat, Lena are present once again. However, Pollyanna is the main protagonist this time and other new and interesting characters also have parts to play. It is difficult to say more without massive spoilers. Suffice it to say, Pollyanna is not simply the hard-drinking blonde she appears to be. She has as many layers as an onion, and great courage.

Pollyanna is a whizz with figures, and is untangling hardware store proprietor Lane Walker’s accounts. But why does she linger in Torreya? Jack Slade runs a diner in town. The local police and other local dignitaries frequent his tables. They are all Klansmen. Silent Sparrow comes in every day too. She’s a bag lady who collects the deposits on pop bottles to get by. The Klansmen don’t bother to keep their voices down. Nobody dare stand against them. Chief of Police Rudy Flowers is an honest man. But one honest man can’t make a lot of headway against generations of ingrained KKK activity. 

However, it turns out that the days of the Klan in Torreya are numbered. An archer starts picking off some of the KKK’s grand panjandrums. Why? Just to tease them really. To set them against each other. So that they make mistakes.

The action keeps on coming. The conversations, the come-backs and put-downs are delightful. Much damage is caused and characters one has come to care about die. Not all of them are brought back to life.

You do not need to have read Campbell’s previous three Florida Magic novels in order to get great enjoyment from this.

** This review was originally prepared for Big Al & Pals review blog. **
 ** I received a complimentary e-file for the purpose. **

Published by Judi Moore

Hi there, I hope you find something to interest you here. In December 2017 I published my fourth book – ‘Wonders will never cease’. It’s a satirical campus novel set in the fictional Ariel University in 1985. If you enjoyed Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse novels, Willy Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’, David Lodge’s campus novels or Malcolm Bradbury’s ‘The History Man’ back in the day, you may enjoy revisiting the ivory towers of 1980s’ academe thirty years on. See what you think. “It is December, 1985. The year is winding gently towards its close until Fergus Girvan, a Classicist at Ariel University, finds his research has been stolen by the man who is also seeking to steal his daughter. But which man is, actually, the more unscrupulous of the two? And is there hope for either of them?” In the autumn of 2015 I published a volume of short fiction: 'Ice Cold Passion and other stories'. I am also the author of novella 'Little Mouse', a shortish piece of historical fiction which I published in 2014 and, a sequel to it, 'Is death really necessary?', my eco thriller set in the near future and which, confusingly, I published in 2009. All the books are available from all good online bookshops and FeedARead on paper, and as e-books on Kindle. On a semi-regular basis, and about a month after the event, I post here reviews which I do for Big Al & Pals, the premier reviewer of indie books, based in the States. My interests tend to thrillers, SF, magic realism and other quirky stuff. On this blog are also posted the reviews I did for Leighton Buzzard Music Club over some five years up to the end of 2015. LBMC present annual seasons of eight monthly chamber music concerts at the Library Theatre in Leighton Buzzard, Bucks. They select young musicians just beginning to make their name - and the concerts are usually magnificent. I was very proud to be associated with them. I review other music, books, theatre and exhibitions which I've particularly enjoyed.

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