A Tree Born Crooked


James Hart, with a tough-as-nails exterior and an aching emptiness inside, does not want to go home.

Yet when James receives a postcard from his mother, Birdie Mae, informing him of his father’s death, he bites the bullet and returns to the rural and stagnant town of Crystal Springs, Florida, a place where dreams are born to die. James is too late for Orville’s funeral, but just in time to become ensnared in the deadly repercussions of his younger brother Rabbit’s life of petty crime.

When Rabbit is double crossed by his cousin in a robbery-turned-murder, James and a local bartender, the unsettling and alluring Marlena Bell, must come up with a plan to save Rabbit’s skin. A whirlwind road trip across the desolate Florida panhandle ensues as James tries to stay one step ahead of the vengeful Alligator Mafia and keep his brother alive. With bullets in the air and the ghosts of heartache, betrayal and unspeakable rage haunting him at every turn, James must decide just how much he is willing to risk to protect his family and find a way home.  

"Like a double-shot of fine bourbon, A Tree Born Crooked grabs you in the back of the throat and only makes you crave more the more you consume. Steph Post's simmering crime saga is a relentless pulse-pounder of a tale that shows survival and salvation rarely go hand-in-hand."
-Anthony Breznican, Entertainment Weekly senior film writer and author of Brutal Youth

“Into the land of lacquered baby gators and oxycontin stashed behind the fridge--where even a plastic Santa in the lawn has been kicked over and wears a dented-in cheek. Steph Post brings a big heart and a close eye to this gritty story of ill-fated plans to knock off the safe house of a local mob. The result is a breathless chase through trailer parks, bars and motels that sweeps you in as you spiral down. Think of Flannery O'Connor writing season two of True Detective.”
-Will Chancellor, author of A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall

"A man reluctantly returning to his small, rural hometown; the legacies of the past impinging on the present; crazy men with guns -- this is compelling Florida grit with echoes of the late great Harry Crews. Steph Post's A Tree Born Crooked is a wonderful debut."
-Leonard Chang, author of Triplines and staff writer for FX’s Justified

"With A Tree Born Crooked, Steph Post delivers a 12-gauge blast of country noir from the gun-shaped state, a grit-rich tale of blood and citrus sure to have you recalling the rough beauty of Daniel Woodrell's work."
-Taylor Brown, author of In the Season of Blood and Gold

"What is important on this journey, and throughout the novel, is Steph Post’s perfect pitch representation of her characters’ dialogue, desperation, and determination along a stretch of nonstop action."
-Florida Weekly


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