The Clearing - Tim GautreauxSet in 1920's Louisiana. Randolph Aldridge is in the timber industry and lives in Pennsylvania. He works in the family business and during his families search for his estranged brother Byron, a returning veteran from WW1, he has found out that Byron is working as a constable for a sawmill in the backwoods and swamps of Louisiana. The settlement of Nimbus that sprung up from the mill is so remote there is only one branch line railway in and out of it, and the only other way to get there is by boat.
The book charts the two brother's reunion after Randolph purchases the whole mill, and builds the tension between Byron's duties of dealing with roustabout drunks from the mafia-run bar and brothel and the bars owners. The bar is owned by a gangster called Buzetti and whereas the locals and law enforcement agencies fear the mob, Byron, who is mentally scarred from the horrors of war view's the Sicilians as nothing more than just a fucking nuisance and deals with them accordingly and fearlessly.
And so the scene is set.
I enjoyed this and got a real feel for the climate of the deep south and was into this page turner from the start.