Concerning The Matter Of The King Of Craw
Owen Edwards is twelve years old when his family moves from the mountains of Colorado to the hills of Frankfort, Kentucky. Soon, he meets two people who change his life: Lucas Deane and John Fallis. Lucas is a fellow student who becomes his closest friend, his confidante, and his brother. John Fallis is a local icon, a gunslinging philanthropist, businessman, bootlegger, and outlaw, someone who fascinates Owen from the very start.
As Owen and Lucas bond – the uptown boy and the lad from the wrong side of town – they’re both drawn into the orbit of John Fallis, and they both experience his ebbs and flows, the stories that become legends, and his impact on the town. John Fallis is a force of nature… but what effect will he have on Owen and Lucas when all is said and done?
Concerning the Matter of the King of Craw is a coming-of-age tale, a story of friendship, and a creation myth for a folk hero all in one fell swoop. Rhody offers us a very convincing and amiable narrator in Owen, a young man with an eye for detail and a willingness to learn. Owen’s mix of pragmatism and hero worship is the perfect lens through which to observe a character as multifaceted and contradictory as John Fallis, and shaping the tale as a memoir, using Owen’s recollections of the past, allows for insights that would have eluded Owen at the time. It’s a well-thought-out and intriguing way to tell multiple stories at once, providing both the wisdom of hindsight and the immediacy of a story told as it happened.
The novel is hurt a bit by some editing flubs (one character’s middle name changes a few pages apart), a few character name switches in one section that briefly had me thinking the actual POV character had changed for a paragraph, and the occasional line that doesn’t ring true for the narrator. But, by and large, this is a wonderful glimpse of old-time Americana, sharing the legend of the self-made man, beholden to no one and enforcing his own moral code, for better or for worse. Concerning the Matter of the King of Craw brings history and folk mythology to life with a modern twist. It’s great stuff.
Outer Banks Publishiing Group