Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Freebie: The Evening Hour by Carter Sickels

Congratulations to Carl Scott, winner of last week's Friday Freebie, The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau.

This week's book giveaway is The Evening Hour by Carter Sickels, just released by Bloomsbury.  I've already expressed my enthusiastic anticipation of Sickels' debut novel, so your appetite should already be fully whetted (if, in fact, you haven't already gone ahead and clicked through to order the book).  But for those out there who still need a little more convincing, here's Aryn Kyle (author of The God of Animals) to tell you why The Evening Hour may be one of the first great must-reads of 2012:  "In this stark, beautiful debut, Sickels writes with gentle grace and cutting honesty about characters as wounded as the condemned land on which they live. The Evening Hour is a raw, aching book that gleams with moments of unflinching truth and unexpected tenderness, casting light into dark corners, revealing both damage and dignity. It's a stunning novel."  Need more convincing?  Try this: "A refreshing cry from the populace, Carter Sickels' The Evening Hour captures the spirit of America's New Feudalism. The setting is West Virginia and Heritage Coal has a monopoly: on the land, on the lives of the people who work for them, and on the families who live downhill from the toxic sludge pond. Life is hell and survival is all there is. Some have the Bible, some have booze and pills and sex, and some still dare to have a dream."  (Tom Spanbauer, author of The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon

What's that you say?  Your arm still isn't twisted?  Okay, Mr. Dubious-pants, here's the plot summary:
Most of the wealth in Dove Creek is in the earth--in the coal seams that have provided generations with a way of life. Born and raised here, twenty-seven-year-old Cole Freeman has sidestepped work as a miner to become an aide in a nursing home. He's also a drug dealer, reselling the prescription drugs his older patients give him to a younger crowd looking for different kinds of escape. In this economically depressed, shifting landscape, Cole is floundering. The mining corporation is angling to buy the Freeman family's property, and Cole's protests only feel like stalling. Although he has often dreamed of leaving, he has a sense of duty to this land, especially after the death of his grandfather. His grandfather is not the only loss: Cole's one close friend, Terry Rose, has also slipped away from him, first to marriage, then to drugs. While Cole alternately attempts romance with two troubled women, he spends most of his time with the elderly patients at the home, desperately trying to ignore the decay of everything and everyone around him. When a disaster befalls these mountains, Cole is forced to confront his fears and, finally, take decisive action--if not to save his world, to at least save himself.

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of The Evening Hour, all you have to do is answer this question:

In what subject did Sickels earn his master's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill?  (Visit the author's website to find the answer.)

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Feb. 9--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Feb. 10.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done either or both of those, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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