Go With Me is the story of a small town that allows itself to be terrorized by Blackway, a former police officer. Prior to being dismissed from the police force, Blackway used his position to take advantage of the town. He got away with this until, Lillian, a young woman not originally from the small Vermont town, contacted the state police to inform on him. This novel begins when Lillian goes to the sheriff to report that Blackway is stalking her and has killed her cat as a warning. After being told that there was nothing that the sheriff could do until Blackway attempted to physically harm her, Lillian takes the sheriff’s suggestion to look up Scotty Cavanaugh. What she finds instead is Whizzer and his group of mostly aging men who spend their days at a barely functioning mill. Scotty is not in at the time, but young buck Nate the Great and the much older Lester Speed are recruited in his place. Because she neither plans to leave town nor has the desire to do so, her two unlikely heros agree to go with her to take on Blackway.
After Lillian, Nate, and Lester find themselves in pursuit of Blackway, Freeman frames the story in alternating chapters between the chase and what the men are discussing back at the mill. This structure allows the reader to learn more about the characters, Blackway, and the history of the town in a manner as laid back and odd as the town itself. The dialog amongst those at the mill is quick, short, and at times chaotic. The pursuit of Blackway is very deliberate. No one is sure that they can take care of Blackway, but Lester knows what needs to be done and Nate is a willing participant. Lillian struggles against what she wants and what she feels is right, but her she’s determined not to give in to her fear any more than the men will let her. Just as Lillian’s attitudes and actions, in juxtapostion with the rest of the town and its reactions to her, provide insight into the town, the contrast between these alternating chapters create the most subtle form of suspense.
A great deal occurs in Go With Me‘s scant 192 pages. I can’t remember the last time I found a shorter novel or novella as satisfying as I found this book. While I was expecting the story to be more scary, I was charmed by the characters and nervously curious about Blackway. Whizzer is a wonderful character and I would love to sit back with a beer and listen to the stories he has to tell in between the often humorous interuptions by his friends. If you like character driven stories and small town quirkiness, you should give this novel a try. For a minimal investment of time, you get a clever story that packs an unsuspecting punch.
I received this book from HarperCollins, but it intrigued me from the second I pulled it out of the wrapper. Therefore, I am counting this toward my Just for the Love of It Reading Challenge.
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