My Juliet by John Ed Bradley
John Ed Bradley is a writer of great power and intensity whose early novels were ecstatically received by critics. It has been six years since Bradley has published a novel, and he has used that time to craft a noir tour de force that breathes new life into the Southern gothic tradition.
My Juliet tells the story of a struggling artist, Sonny LaMott, and his obsessive love for Juliet Beauvais, who is Thanatos and Eros all balled up into one nasty, irresistible package. Juliet returns to New Orleans after her years as an "actress" in California, thinking that her mother is about to die and that she will inherit the family mansion. But Juliet discovers she's been tricked by her mother, so this most fatale of femmes seeks out the damaged Sonny, who still can't resist her fifteen years after she crushed his heart. With ease, Juliet seduces him anew, nefarious purposes in mind.
Juliet is an unforgettable character, and the prose and dialogue drip with New Orleans atmosphere. The gothic elements--graveyards, kinky debauchery, decay, melodrama--are superbly rendered, yet the author's rich sense of humor and pity for his characters make it all vibrant and original. Bradley excels at stretching out an impending sense of doom that hovers over all the players, creating a delicious tension out of our expectation of the worst yet to come.