Whiskey Baron Jon Sealy

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Advanced Praise

“Jon Sealy’s gritty, superbly crafted novel, The Whiskey Baron, hooked me from the opening paragraph, and much like a drunk feels when the bartender signals last call and there’s nowhere left to go but home, I hated like hell for it to end.”

          —Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time

“Jon Sealy has written a lyrical page-turner. The Whiskey Baron is a captivating, beautifully-written novel. Who can resist a man named Mary Jane involved in illicit liquor sales? I foresee the beginning of a long, successful career.”

          —George Singleton, author of Stray Decorum

The Whiskey Baron is a novel that offers the pleasures of both mystery novel and literary fiction. Jon Sealy never condescends to his characters—they subvert easy stereotypes and are all the more compelling because of their complexity. This impressive debut establishes Jon Sealy as a significant new voice in Southern fiction.”

          —Ron Rash, author of Serena and The Cove

“Jon Sealy’s The Whiskey Baron is a remarkable first novel. I couldn’t put it down — I mean that — and found in its pages a voice sharp and true, a rendering of its time and place that has haunted me to this day, and especially a phenomenal sense of tension and pace that kept me on the edge of my seat. This book transcends the notion of its being a Southern novel. It’s an American novel, and Mr. Sealy a grand new talent we’ll hear much from, I am certain.”

          —Bret Lott, author of Jewel and Dead Low Tide

The Whiskey Baron is a simmering powerhouse of a novel. Like the corn liquor that drives it, The Whiskey Baron will burn you all the way down to your gut. This is a book whose characters will stay with you: a young boy who struggles to make sense of the world around him; an old sheriff who feels himself slipping into uselessness; a despotic bootlegger who fears no one; and a young star-crossed couple caught right in the middle. Jon Sealy has created a novel steeped in place and era that invites you to sit down and take a nice, long slug of it. You’ll be glad you did.”

          —Wiley Cash, author of A Land More Kind Than Home

The Whiskey Baron evokes Cormac McCarthy and Ron Rash, but Sealy’s cast of small town dreamers and schemers in Prohibition-era South Carolina is uniquely riveting. An atmospheric and unbearably suspenseful debut novel.”

          —Holly Goddard Jones, author of The Next Time You See Me

“Never encountered before: a poetic, lovely read of a slam-bang shoot-ʼem-up adventure starring Big League Bootleggers. Well, there is always a first, and Jon Sealy, clearly at home in the dusty, heat-dazed mill village world of the South Carolina Piedmont, has brought it off with literary aplomb. The Whiskey Baron, played out by people who easily pass for real—the weary old sheriff, a ne’er-do-well native son named Mary Jane, the heartless arch-villain Larthan Tull, and his teenage daughter, the soul of innocent beauty—is a dark, nail-biting tale, grim and bloody, told with truly amazing grace.”

          —Dot Jackson, author of Refuge