For 11 years the clock has been ticking for Russell Gaines while he's sat in Parchman Penitentiary in the Mississippi Delta. His time now up, and believing his debt has been paid, he returns home only to discover that revenge lives and breathes all around.
On the same day as his release, a woman named Maben and her young daughter trudge along the side of the interstate under the punishing summer sun. Desperate and exhausted, the pair spend their last dollar on a motel room for the night, a night that ends with Maben running through the darkness holding a pistol, and a dead deputy sprawled in the road in the glow of his own headlights. With dawn, destinies collide, and Russell is forced to decide whose life he will save: his own or the lives of the woman and child.
"Smith writes shapely prose and sharp dialogue and everywhere displays an acute sense of the moments and pain that can define lives in a small town." (Kirkus Reviews)
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