The Gorge





THE BOOK: The Gorge.


THE AUTHOR: David Armand

THE EDITOR: Susan Swartwout

THE PUBLISHER: Southeast Missouri State University Press

SUMMARY: In his latest literary thriller, David Armand weaves together the stories of an eccentric cast of dark, frighteningly realistic characters, each under suspicion of murdering a young girl, Amber Varnado, whose body is found hidden in a deep gorge at the opening of the novel. Set in southeast Louisiana in the small town of Franklinton, The Gorge follows the colliding lives of Tuller, the murdered girl’s boyfriend, whose suspicious past and his discovery of Amber’s body make him the prime suspect; John Varnado, Amber’s father, a Vietnam war veteran whose violent flashbacks cause brutal outbursts of rage and paranoia; Grady, a young man dwarfed by rickets who prowls the night to feed his strange desires; and Euwell, a man who lives in an old shack near the gorge and hunts for young girls to satisfy his lusts and quell his inner-demons. Armand’s spellbinding story explores the universal themes of desperate love and the pitfalls of false assumptions woven into the tenuous threads of coincidence that connect people in a small town. Masterful, profound, and full of spirit, The Gorge is literary entertainment of the highest order.

THE BACK STORY: I was visiting a gorge in Bogue Chitto State Park in Franklinton, Louisiana, when an image of a dead body being hidden in the brush just popped into my head. As with my other books, I started asking myself questions about this image: who would put a body here? Why? Would the body be found? This was the idea that drove the plot forward.

WHY THIS TITLE?: Mainly because the pivotal scenes in the book take place in a gorge. Also, place is a very important aspect of my fiction. It takes on the role of a character in its own right.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: This novel is a literary thriller with lots of dark characters and suspenseful, page-turning action.

REVIEW COMMENTS: David Armand is an exceptionally talented young writer that I’ve had my eye on for a while. His new novel, The Gorge, is a suspenseful tale filled with intrigue and surprises, and he knows his characters inside out, just as he knows the sights, sounds, and smells of the landscape in which their drama is enacted. I really admired this book. –Steve Yarbrough, author of The Realm of Last Chances and Safe from the Neighbors

Though original in plot and conception, The Gorge shows the clear influence of Larry Brown and Cormac McCarthy in Armand’s creation of genuinely evolved Rough South characters. Grady Bickels emerges, for example, as an even more grotesque version of Lester Ballard from Child of God. Armand’s direct and poetic use of language is quite impressive. –Jean W. Cash, author of Flannery O Connor: A Life and Larry Brown: A Writer s Life Larry Brown meets Tom Franklin in The Gorge, a haunting story that delivers readers a strong sting of southern grit lit. With just the right balance of dark, edgy, raw, and all things lyrical, David Armand dives deep into the sweat-soaked secrets and sins of rural Louisiana. Get ready to enter into the minds of characters you would never want to know in real life, but probably already do. –Julie Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The Feathered Bone

AUTHOR PROFILE: David Armand was born and raised in Louisiana. He has worked as a drywall hanger, a draftsman, and as a press operator in a flag printing factory. He now teaches at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he also serves as associate editor for Louisiana Literature Press. In 2010, he won the George Garrett Fiction Prize for his first novel, The Pugilist’s Wife, which was published by Texas Review Press. His second novel, Harlow, was published by Texas Review Press in 2013. David’s third novel, The Gorge, was published on October 1, 2015, by Southeast Missouri State University Press, and his chapbook, The Deep Woods, was published in September by Blue Horse Press. David’s memoir, My Mother’s House, is forthcoming from Texas Review Press. David lives with his wife and two children and is working on his sixth book, The Lord’s Acre


LOCAL OUTLETS: Barnes & Noble, Baton Rouge, LA. See for library holdings.


PRICE: $15.00 (paper) $20.00 (hardback).


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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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