Eric Wilson’s The Best of Evil was a very pleasant surprising find. As mentioned in this space before, I’m a real sucker for any place that has a sign containing the words “book” and “sale.” That’s exactly how I spotted Wilson’s book (and a few others that I’ll probably mention here in the coming weeks).
As it happens, I’d just come out of a dentist appointment with a new dentist here in Oxford. Brett and I both had checkups (both of us had a clean teeth bill of heath, thanks!) and were returning to my truck. This office is in a strip mall, the first time I’d ever seen one in such a location.
Needless to say, next door is a Christian book store. As I got in my truck to leave, I stuck the key in the ignition. Before I could turn it, those words-you know them-“Sale. Half off.”
So, I told Brett to stay put (I could actually see the books on the table from my truck), and went inside for a quick look. I ended buying about 5 books, all for $3-$5.
The Best of Evil is about Aramis Black, a young man who’s moved from somewhere out west to Nashville. Out west he had considerable drug and alcohol problems (don’t they all, “out west?” -that’s a joke) and so he moves in with his brother, a struggling young country musician.
Aramis, who has opened up his own coffee shop, is still pretty much struggling to find his way, when out of the blue (how come it’s always “blue”? Why can’t it be out of the red? Or orange, or brown?) a man is gunned down in his shop right before his very eyes.
One of the ingredients in this story that really drug me along is that Aramis is supposedly a descendant of Merriwether Lewis, of the famous Lewis and Clark. Wilson’s tale tells of murder and intrigue relating to the Lewis family and a secret the family has passed down since the famous Merriwether’s death/murder. In fact, Aramis, when only a child, witnesses the murder of his mother, a death which he blames on his uncle.
Aramis must discover this secret past, which every one of his family members seem to know, but refuse to tell him.
The book was published in 2006, so it isn’t very old. It contains a lot dialogue so it moves very fast-the pages turn quickly. You’ll make your way through the 335 pages in no time. I don’t know that I could recommend it at the original sticker price of $14, but certainly worth your time and money at half that.