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Product Details
$22.99  $21.38
Skyhorse Publishing
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.3 X 1.3 inches | 1.01 pounds

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About the Author
Kelly J. Ford is an instructor for GrubStreet Writing Center and a graduate of their Novel Incubator program. Her fiction has appeared in Black Heart Magazine, Fried Chicken and Coffee, and Knee-Jerk Magazine. Although Kelly is from Fort Smith, Arkansas, she now lives in Boston with her wife and cat.
A Los Angeles Review Best Book of 2017

"Ford's novel features a lesbian protagonist, yet sexuality is only one facet of her strongly drawn character. Emily suffers from unrequited love, from betrayal, and from a longing for meaning and acceptance. Her struggles, as well as those of her family and community, are universal struggles set in a brutal reality where choices are scarce. Read this debut novel for its ability to go beneath the surface, striking impressive depths of character and setting."--Los Angeles Review

"We talk about the need for diverse books in America; Cottonmouths shows us a version of our country seldom given its own narrative. Kelly J. Ford writes with honesty, subtlety, and grace." --Patricia Park, award-winning author of Re Jane

"Gripping and atmospheric. A tense tale of the specific gravity of the places and the people we come from, and can never fully leave behind." --Kate Racculia, award-winning author of Bellweather Rhapsody

"Filled with foreboding and anguished desire, Cottonmouths is a perfectly-paced drama of the perils of loyalty, love, and homecoming. A terrific novel by an exciting new queer voice." -Christopher Castellani, author of All This Talk of Love

"A compelling story of unrequited love, identity, and the power of letting go." --Heather Newton, author of Under the Mercy Trees

"A taut page-turner trembling with desire and regret, Kelly J. Ford's debut Cottonmouths, strips away nostalgia for person and place when the return of one young woman reveals the rotting core of a small southern town, unraveling with the ferocity of addiction, and forcing a painful lesson-- she must learn to let go of her delusions in both love and friendship before it's too late." --Michelle Hoover, author of Bottomland

"A fierce first novel--startling in its grip and authenticity. It's a novel about desire and desperation and the perilous danger of loving broken people in broken places." --Travis Mulhauser, author of Sweetgirl

"Part noir, part Southern Gothic, Cottonmouths is far more than the sum of these parts, an original story that haunted me after I read it. Kelly Ford's unflinching prose plunges readers into the town of Drear's Bluff, where what's familiar isn't what's safe and where desire proves deadly." --Stephanie Gayle, author of Idyll Threats

"An astonishingly assured debut from Kelly J. Ford, a writer who daringly plumbs the depths of both love and despair in a new and chilling South rendered with taut and pitch-perfect detail. Trust me, this is a book you will remember." --Kimberly Elkins, author of What is Visible

"Cottonmouths is a wonderfully harrowing debut full of shady characters and bad choices--two things that make every novel more satisfying . . . Kelly J. Ford delivers a sharp punch to the gut with this tightly spun modern noir tale. I can't wait to read more from this author." --Tiffany Quay Tyson, author of The Past is Never

"With prose as lyrical and languid as a hot Arkansas summer, Kelly J. Ford explores the myopia of desire--and its tragic aftermath. I found myself torn between wanting to rip through these pages to find out what would happen, and a need to slow down and savor Ford's sentences. A remarkable debut." --Lisa Borders, author of The Fifty-First State

"Kelly J. Ford's Cottonmouths is a heartbreaking debut about the lies we tell ourselves to brave the past--and the truths we hide that hurt us most. An honest, unflinching portrait of yearning and loss." --Andy Davidson, author of In the Valley of the Sun

"Cottonmouths is not a love story: it's a tale of resentment, venomous betrayal, and the wounds hidden beneath familiar surfaces. Through a kaleidoscope of characters, Ford's dark novel shows us the choices people make when the world denies them good options, and the consequences of complicity."--Lambda Literary

"Read this debut novel for its ability to go beneath the surface, striking impressive depths of character and setting."-- The Museum of America

"Kelly J. Ford's novel Cottonmouths captures life in backwoods America like a fish in a frying pan. Ford takes her young, raw, flailing characters and rakes them over the heat of a high-octane plot until their vulnerable insides sizzle on the page."--Shelf Awareness

"This debut novel from Kelly J. Ford is sensitive yet brutal. . . . A terrific new voice in the genre."--Shelf Discovery

"Cottonmouths paints a disturbing picture of deep darkness lurking just below the surface of small-town America."--Mystery Scene