“A literary work of art, with exceptional characterization and philosophical prose guiding the story along the banks of the Neches…James Wade’s writing is rhapsodic…This novel will not disappoint readers looking for thought-provoking fiction about love and affection conquering the mud and debauchery of life, even if for a little while.” —Lone Star Literary Life
River, Sing Out by James Wade
Attempting to escape his abusive father and generations of cyclical poverty, young Jonah Hargrove joins the mysterious River—a teenage girl carrying thousands of dollars in stolen meth—and embarks on a southern gothic odyssey through the East Texas river bottoms.
They are pursued by local drug kingpin John Curtis and his murderous enforcer, Dakota Cade, with whom River was romantically involved. But Cade and Curtis have their own enemies, as their relationship with the cartel controlling their meth supply begins to sour.
Keeping tabs on everyone is the Thin Man, a silent assassin who values consequence over mercy.
Each person is keeping secrets from the others—deadly secrets that will be exposed in savage fashion as their final paths collide and all are forced to come to terms with their choices, their circumstances, and their own definition of God.
With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into a sinister and sanguinary world, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.
“River, Sing Out is a poetic, exceedingly descriptive gothic fiction of place and time, and even more pictorial of living a poor life in the deep East Texas woods…Roger Clark, the narrator, has a voice that is rich and expressive. A richness that makes a girl like me swoon. Clark’s changing from the various characters even to a girl to a boy never broke its cadence. Without a doubt, Clark’s voice conveys River, Sing Out into a phenomenally memorable story…It is a story that can take miles off your long drives or commutes.” —Forgotten Winds
“This is a compelling and affecting story, spectacularly written and richly detailed with a descriptive atmosphere and realistic characters that will not easily be forgotten. A brooding and brutal coming-of-age story as enlightening in its harshness as it is in its wonder and beauty. Five stars.” —That’s What She’s Reading
“With echoes of Jim Harrison, Cormac McCarthy (and perhaps a smidge of Flannery O’Connor), River, Sing Out is a beautiful, brutal meditation on survival and love in the face of nearly unspeakable violence and depravity in an East Texas community ravaged by the meth trade. Taut, lyrical, and precise, the prose soars in this important new novel by James Wade.” —Elizabeth Wetmore, New York Times bestselling author
“This story is not just a story to be read. It is a story to be experienced…Although this is the first book by James Wade that I’ve read, he has immediately become one of my favorite and most respected authors. If you believe in the magic of the written word and what can become of it, you need to read this story. You need to read this author. You will enjoy both very much!” —The Clueless Gent
James Wade lives and writes in the Texas Hill Country with his wife and daughter. His debut novel, All Things Left Wild, won the 2021 Spur Award for Historical Novel. James is also a winner of the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest and a finalist of the Tethered by Letters Short Fiction Contest. His fiction has appeared in various literary magazines, including the Bitter Oleander.