I became introduced to Darrell Laurant and his book, ‘The Kudzu Kid’, through a LinkedIn connection. Released October 2014 through Koehler Books, ‘The Kudzu Kid’ is touted as fiction, mystery and detective.
‘The Kudzu Kid’ is the story of Eddie Fogarty, an editor with a large streak of cockiness from the metropolitan newspaper ‘The Jersey Progress’ where he covers such topics as Jersey’s world of organized crime.
That is what leads him to leave–or flee–Jersey for the safe harbor of Jefferson Springs in Randolph County, Virgina. There, in that quiet little town, he begins fresh as the editor of the local paper, ‘The Southside Echo’. Once used to the busyness of a daily paper, with much news to cover, he is slammed to a halt with a weekly edition that is forced to pull its noteworthy news from various regional locales and mundane topics as blue ribbons at the fair, a pig farm and local board meetings.
Mr. Laurant has worked as a newspaper editor, among many journalism fields. His extensive knowledge of the newspaper business shines through the book, adding an authentic voice.
Eddie Fogarty suffers culture shock as he tries to adjust from big city anonymity to small town news man with nowhere to hide. There is also an obvious county landfill dilemma constantly lurking in the story’s background, plus a questionable murder or two.
A regular parade of secondary characters passing through flesh out the county’s inhabitants. Some kind of like Eddie, a few befriend him and several wholeheartedly dislike or distrust him. Not fully accepted by local residents, and not ready to end his arrogant ways, Eddie retaliated the only way he can. Through the newspaper columns written by his alter ego–The Kudzu Kid.
This story kept me reading all the way to the end. I just had to know how it ended, and if Eddie and Zoe became ‘a thing’ or not. How many people could Eddie get ticked off at him? The eclectic mix of people and constant nuances of Eddie’s past not yet ready to let him escape added the right flavor.