Cass Adams is crazy, and everyone in Deacon, Kansas, knows it. But when her good-for-nothing husband, Roland, goes missing, no one suspects that Cass buried him in their unfinished koi pond. Too bad he doesn’t stay there for long. Cass gets arrested on the banks of the Spring River for dumping his corpse after heavy rain partially unearths it.
The police chief wants a quick verdict—he’s running for sheriff and has no time for crazy talk. But like Roland’s corpse, secrets start to surface, and they bring more to light than anybody expected. Everyone in Cass’s life thinks they know her—her psychic grandmother, her promiscuous ex-best friend, her worm-farming brother-in-law, and maybe even her local ghost. But after years of separate silences, no one knows the whole truth. Except Roland. And he’s not talking.
Thanks to the author for gifting me this book in exchange for this review!
Sometimes I get review requests and I’m not sure I’ll like the book, but something tells me to take a chance anyway. THEY CALL ME CRAZY was one of those. I did some brief research and discovered that Goodreads had excellent reviews, so I took a gamble. I’m so glad I did! Well written and a shining example of the Southern Noir genre, this was a fantastic ride.
The chapters are all told in the perspective of each of the characters, which makes everyone a pretty unreliable narrator. Cass herself is also unreliable, as she is determined to be the “crazy” one early on. She routinely denigrates her husband, while others who know him paint him as a wonderful man. Those characters who appear as shining paradigms may or may not turn out to be the bad guys—you just have to read it and see for yourself.
Cass is a pretty sympathetic character right off the bat, despite her townsfolk attesting to the contrary. She is just marching to the beat of her own drummer and is comfortable there. She is definitely one of the most colorful characters I’ve come across this year.
The author’s knowledge of country towns and their foibles make the tale sing—her descriptions of the houses, hobbies, weather, and people’s sartorial choices place the reader firmly in the middle of Anytown, Kansas. You get just a whiff of desperation in the background; those who have not managed to escape to A Big City are resigned to make life as interesting as they can, while tearing down poor old crazy Cass. All through the book she maintains her guilt, telling anyone who is willing to listen that, of course, she DID kill her husband. How this story was going to be wrapped up was a big question in my mind as I read on. The author does not disappoint–the ending is just to the left of center and quite satisfying.
As the reader begins to understand the entire story (by piecing together everyone’s separate version of the truth), THEY CALL ME CRAZY turns into quite the delicious story; like one of those chocolate truffles that have many layers and then a sweet nougat at the center. Completely satisfying, humorous, and suspenseful, this unassuming story will make you think twice about those people in your life that seem just a little odd.
Want your own copy? You can pick it up here.