Title: Green River
Author: Jardonn Smith
Publisher: MLR Press
Characters: Ernie Surbaugh, Forrest Barton
POV: 1st Person
Sub-Genre: Paranormal Erotica/Historical
In 1938, people had no fears of ghosts. This was the Great Depression. Fear was empty pockets and empty stomachs, but for the men of Jardonn Smith’s Green River, working a Highway 66 project in the WPA meant a full-time job and steady wages. Sure, there’s a disgruntled spirit living under the river bridge near their camp, but the only question they have is, “Whose willie will he go for next?”
This story is part of the anthology “Past Shadows”
Jardonn Smith has brought back his characters from Furlough Bridge in Green River, the story that gives Ernie Surbaugh, a man whose life is now in its latter days, center stage as he reflects on how he and his older lover Forrest Barton met.
In Furlough Bridge, Ernie was a presence but in name only, as he was in Europe fighting in World War II at the time. Set in 1938, in the midst of the US financial collapse and the start of an economic turnaround, Green River lands the men in a WPA project, working together to repair a section of Route 66 in the Missouri Ozarks.
This is the story of their budding attraction to each other, not in the romantic aspect but in the primal draw they feel to each other’s masculinity. These are simple, plain spoken men whose lust ultimately led to a relationship that spanned nearly four decades.
A horny ghost, a little fooling around, a clan of troublemakers, and a fun little side-story about how a cinematic icon found its inspiration for the Emerald City, with more than a passing nod to the film’s characters, this is a story that made me smile on more than a few occasions, then left me feeling a bit melancholy in the end with the knowledge that even in fiction, life must follow its natural course. This book works as a nice bookend, both a start and a finish, to Ernie and Forrest’s story.
Reviewed By: Lisa