I borrowed the hardcover from my local public library.
It's the Smokies in the Depression and life is tough. So are Henry and Serena Pemberton, who are determined to make a killing in the timber business-- even if they have to do some actual killing to get it done.
Serena is not a feel-good book, but it is beautifully written and has a cast of compelling, nuanced characters. It's obvious that Rash has deep ties to the region. Though much of the subject matter is bleak and there are very few sympathetic characters, this is a novel that will reward the read for those who don't shy away from the phrase "stone-cold killer."
This was my first book by Ron Rash and I will be reading his work again. Serena was a chilling but fascinating character, and hardscrabble mountain life was the perfect backdrop for this ruthless tale. I also liked how Rash included a few significant events that were not drawn in detail; the reader is allowed the latitude to supply the missing information with his or her preferred conjecture to make the story even more grim or, alternatively, to instill a little joy.