MASTER OF THE DELTA, by Thomas H. Cook

Another stand-alone Southern hair-raiser by this marvelous writer, this one taking place in Louisiana, and marching to a slowly falling drumbeat. Cook is a master at mixing times, deftly sliding from past to present, carefully laying out his minefields, illuminating his characters in tiny lightning strikes of perfect words and images. This one's no exception. Jack Branch, proud and courtly heir to Great Oaks plantation and all its traditions, teaches high school English in his home town, in the same school his father taught. He is drawn in to the lives of several of his students, notably Eddie Miller, the son of the notorious Coed Killer. Jack's misplaced noblesse oblige will set in place a series of subtle events that culminate in a horrific event that nobody could have foreseen. A 4; if you are a Southern literature fan, you will sink right into this (at times molasses-slow) novel.