Well, that was different (in a mostly good way)! Hillbilly Epicurean is set in a bizarre governmental agency, the Chimerical Research Division. The Division looks for anomalous occurrences in reading materials both non-fiction and fictional.
Denver, an entitled rich boy, is forced to work for the Division by his father or risk losing all financial help. It’s a tedious and boring job until he investigates what his predecessor was reviewing before his death. What connects an ancient Libya keystone hiding a key to an apparently unopenable centuries old box in Kansas?
The plot of Hillbilly Epicurean is fascinating and like nothing else I’ve read. It’s fantastic! However, the book itself has some major issues. First, it is overlong due to an exhaustive description of every setting. While that did make the locations form clearly in my mind’s eye, it also diverted me from the plot. Another issue was the characters, even the main protagonist, Denver, were paper-thin. I had no idea what their real motivations, hopes and dreams were for at least half the book.
Is it worth reading the book for the plot alone? Yes, I think so. But think how much greater it would be without these issues that can probably be solved by some quick editing. Therefore, as written, this book receives a strong 4 stars.
Thanks to Burns & Lea Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.