Book Review - South

by Frank Owen (Corvus) ISBN: 9781782399612

South is set in America sometime in the future. It's been 30 years since the first wind-borne viruses ended the civil war between North and South, and still the sicknesses come. Every wind from the north brings a new way to die. The few survivors live in constant fear, hiding from the wind and from each other. 

Brothers, Garrett and Dyce Jackson are on the run when they meet Vida, a lone traveller on a quest to save her mother. South has so much potential and it is so disappointing when it doesn’t work. The plotting is erratic and I wasn’t sure if there was one. There also could have been more attention to world building in this dystopian setting. 

Diane Awerbuck and Alex Latimer are the two authors who write as Frank Owen, and I think this is at the heart of my problem with the novel. South struggles against itself, changing in pace and style like a schizophrenic who may or may not be on his meds. There are times when the genre works and moves along briskly and then times when we are stuck in pages and pages of the description of the inside of a house. 

I am not sure if the book needed more editing or if the two should rather write alone. I loved Alex Latimer’s The Space Race and so I tend to think it may be the latter. 

Amanda Patterson 

This is a harsh story told harshly. In a dystopian environment where people distrust each other and life is cheap it is easy to imagine nothing will end well, for anybody. This is Deliverance (James Dickey) meets The Road ( Cormac McCarthy). 

The throw away comments regarding a South African origin and the search for muti will, in all likelihood, be lost on an American readership. The spoken language used by the characters comes straight out a hillbilly sitcom. 

It’s written exceptionally well, though; a Southern Belle’s fine filigree white lace handkerchief, nearly black from over use as a body wipe, crusted with layers of infectious snot, that pulls, tugs, entices me to the next awful page, drawn by a macabre curiosity as to just how bad can this really get. 

It’s always good to stretch oneself into reading something outside ones usual genre, and it’s a brave tale. 

Julie Suddaby 


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