Zebra, Feb 2001, 5.99, 352 pp.
He counted every day, all 2555 of them that he spent in prison for the accidental killing of Robert Simms, the Washita, Texas banker. Now free, Duncan Malone returns home knowing nothing will ever be the same. His mother lies in a catatonic state after wrapping a car into a tree not long after Duncan's conviction. Someone named Virgil Lewis owns the family farm. Finally, he needs to deal with the town's reaction of a murderer living amidst them.
Duncan learns that Virgil's granddaughter, seven month pregnant Franki, is looking to hire someone to work the farm. No one will take the job because the town wimps all wait for Bobby Simms, Robert's son and current banker, to okay working at the Lewis place ever since he impregnated the lass. Franki hires Duncan over the objections of Bobby, who uses the mortgage as a weapon as he makes life miserable for Duncan and the Malones. In spite of Bobby's interference, Franki and Duncan fall in love, but both have a history involving the prominent Simms family to overcome.
LONG WAY HOME is an enjoyable contemporary look at modern day, small town life when the “bad boy” returns home from prison to raise the Texas temperatures a few degrees. Although the story line has been used in movies and books, talented Janis Reams Hudson makes it seem fresh because her key characters contain traits that make their motives understandable. Fans of contemporary rural romances will relish this rousing tale of redemption.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner