book review: The Streets of Greenfield


The Streets of Greenfield

a book review

Cover of the book "Streets of Greenfield" by Eric Grate

I picked up a copy of a new book at Wheatberry Books in Chillicothe Ohio, while shilling my own book there. Did not sell any copies of my book, but bought someone else's! Not much of a successful self-promotion strategy at work here, but the new book turned out to be a winner.

I was anticipating something akin to a Knockemstiff treatment of another small Southern Ohio town, which is the title of a darn good book written by Donald Ray Pollock. The stories in that book, while mostly appalling, were certainly fascinating and well-written. In a sense this new find is somewhat similar, but this is also much different, and in a good way.

In the case of this new book, an actual burg named Greenfield provides the gravity to hold the various stories together. Each story has its own unique perspective through tone, theme, and perspective. From a writing standpoint this is not the easiest thing to do while keeping the whole work cohesive. But author Eric Grate pulls it off with aplomb for none of the chapters seem jarring or out of place in relation to the others. One chapter is without a doubt the shortest book chapter I have ever read - and it is funny as hell!

All the stories are linked to Greenfield, Ohio in some manner, even if not directly set in that place in each case, which makes the book even more interesting due to the variety of geography. The tales all seem real and believable, with well-written descriptions, dialog, and story arcs. Some are exciting, and others are a slice of life in a tough town where life and choices do not come easy.

Having personally visited Greenfield on a number of occasions, including one brush in the early 1980's with potentially buying a bar there, the descriptions of the town and the people ring true. However, the author stresses that this is a work of fiction - probably to protect the innocent, avoid potential lawsuits or a probable 'beat down' in some dark alley.

Based upon real life, or wholly sprung from the fertile mind of the author, makes no difference with an engaging work like this. And I am still wondering if that person ever got their hole dug.

Highly recommended - 5 Stars



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