Happy Book Birthday [Belated]: The Dark Corner

I’m checking in a little late here, but I still wanted to sincerely congratulate Mark Powell on the publication of his latest novel, The Dark Corner. Way to go, Mark!

Mark and I met in Key West last winter at the 2012 Key West Literary Seminar when we were part of the same Robert Stone-led workshop. (We also were housemates in this old pink house.) I very much enjoyed working with Mark then, and it’s no surprise that The Dark Corner is a great book.

Here’s the jacket copy:

A troubled Episcopal priest and would-be activist, Malcolm Walker has failed twice over—first in an effort to shock his New England congregants out of their complacency and second in an attempt at suicide. Discharged from the hospital and haunted by images of the Iraq War and Abu Ghraib, he heads home to the mountains of northwestern South Carolina, the state’s “dark corner,” where a gathering storm of private grief and public rage awaits him.
    Malcolm’s life soon converges with people as damaged in their own ways as he is: his older brother, Dallas, a onetime college football star who has made a comfortable living in real-estate development but is now being drawn ever more deeply into an extremist militia; his dying father, Elijah, still plagued by traumatic memories of Vietnam and the death of his wife; and Jordan Taylor, a young, drug-addicted woman who is being ruthlessly exploited by Dallas’s viperous business partner, Leighton Clatter. As Malcolm tries to restart his life, he enters into a relationship with Jordan that offers both of them fleeting glimpses of heaven, even as hellish realities continue to threaten them.

The Dark Corner is one of three books written by people I lived with and/or workshopped with at KWLS that came out last year. That I know of, anyway. (You should also check out Eric Sasson’s Margins of Tolerance and Jill Koenigsdorf’s Phoebe and the Ghost of Chagall.) Not too shabby. The folks down at the KWLS, in addition to bringing together a large group of talented writers, the famous and the yet-to-be-famous, always put on a great program. For 2014, the program is titled The Dark Side: Mystery, Crime & the Literary Thriller.

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