In the mystery genre, there have always been authors with a cult following so rabid that eventually they receive the recognition they deserve.
Daniel Woodrell is one of those authors.
Woodrell is a poet in prose, beautifully writing about hard-scrabble people living in the Ozarks of Missouri. Woodrell's words are authentic and his people realistic, hopeful for the future but limited in their abilities to reach for that future.
Although the Missouri Ozarks are not part of Missouri in which I grew up, I am well acquainted with southwest area of the state through family visits. (I am from the other part of the state -- Southeast Missouri.)
Now Woodrell is gaining a bit more recognition for his work -- and deservedly so.
The film Winter's Bone, based on his novel of the same title, is now in wide release. Winter's Bone earned the 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and has been highly praised for its authentic characters and setting. It is the story of modern poverty, the affects of methamphetamine on the community, and three siblings trying to survive.
Tomato Red (originally published in 1998) is in the stores now with an original foreword by Edgar Award-winning crime writer Megan Abbott (Bury Me Deep)
The Death of Sweet Mister (originally published in 2001, and a personal favorite of mine) comes out in March 2011 with an original foreword by New York Times best-seller Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island).
I am delighted to know that Woodrell's work are being reprinted.