b2s pick: Grass Kings

grass-kings-vol-1-9781684151158_hrBOOK 2 SCREEN PICK

Grass Kings by Matt Kindt & Tyler Jenkins (BOOM Studios, 2017)

Summary: Three brothers who rule their own trailer park kingdom must face off against the sheriff of a neighboring town who wants their territory.

The grass kingdom is run by eldest brother Robert, who has been grief-stricken since losing his daughter years ago. When a mysterious young woman flees to their community in search of safety, Robert takes her in. As her true identity comes to light, Robert must decide if his chance at atonement is worth risking the entire Kingdom.

Notes:

A tale of family, violence, and two feuding towns. One town is seemingly normal the other town is off the grid and lives by its own rules. There is a medium size amount of crime including a missing person and a serial killer case long forgotten. We also get recollections of history about the land itself and who lived there.

This first volume in the Grass Kings series introduces us to a community that has separated itself from the United States and is living “off the grid.” The local sheriff of the neighboring town, come knocking when his wife has runs away and is seeking refuge in the Grass Kingdom. However, the Kingdom has its own problems besides a potential invasion from the sheriff and his men; there’s evidence to suggest that someone in their community is a serial killer. Kindt really captures the feel of a community both rotting and falling apart while simultaneously surrounded by the beauty of the natural world. Together, their voice is soft and deliberate and gives the book a tone of everyday mundanity that conceals a growing sense of inevitable menace.

The story is full of broken characters, some of whom are on the road to repair. Others stay on the road to ruin. It’s exactly the kind of modern gangster story I love. The lines between good and bad are blurred, and it’s not so easy to determine the heroes at first. But while this book does have its heroes, nobody is made out to be heroic here. Forget clearly defined morality. This story is about possession and passion. And opposing passions never mix well, but that’s what makes the story so much fun.

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