Son Martin runs a still in Prohibition Era Kentucky that was passed down to him by his father. The novel opens with the local sheriff sending a boy out to warn Son that he is going to raid the still. Son hides everything as the sheriff watches and then the raid is carried out. Nothing is found and the sheriff, his men, and Son drink together.
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An old war buddy of Son's, Long, who works for in IRS as a prohibition agent shows up. He joins in on a party going on and gets a tour before revealing what he does for a living. Long asks to get cut in on Son and the sheriff's deal. The sheriff encourages Son to take the deal. Son refuses feeling that he's already giving away too much of his heritage.
Long comes back to tear down Son's operation, but can't find it, the money, or the stored whisky. Long comes down heavy on the town, but can't get any answers or find the hiding spot. He learns that Son has explosives too, but can't find those.
Long sends in muscle to threaten and pressure Son into dealing. The extra guys get violent. The sheriff gets killed along with one of Son's men. Son gets pinned down in a shootout. Long switches sides and tries to help Son, but they get captured. Son agrees to show them where the whisky is buried, if the men let him live.
As they dig on the spot he shows, the dynamite goes off killing all the men.
Best part of story, including ending:
It is fast-paced. There are no wasted scenes.
Best scene in story:
The reveal of the explosion at the end was a good, earned ending. I wish there was a little bit more after that to resolve the characters.
Opinion about the main character:
Son Martin plays a bit into Southern stereotypes. Even though he is shown to have a system of honor, he does not grow much as a character.