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Master of the Delta by Thomas H. Cook

Master of the Delta (2008)

by Thomas H. Cook

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This is the story of Jack Branch, a high school teacher currently teaching a class on evil. When he finds out one of his students is the son of the locally infamous Coed Killer, he decides to take the student under his wing. Jack gives an assignment to the class to write a term paper on someone who is evil, and suggests to Eddie that he write about his own father.

Although the storyline was good and carried me along, I had one big problem with the ending: Why did the trial cover so much of Jack's mentoring of Eddie and his term paper? It didn't end up having much at all to do with the actual crimes committed. The entire book which was about this term paper, and Eddie's father, and hints of a secret between Eddie and Jack's father, only to have it all come to absolutely nothing. And I never did figure out if Jack's father was telling the truth about the story of Pip in "The Book of Days" or not. Good storytelling, great characterization, but in the end didn't make much sense. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
Master of the Delta is the first of Thomas H. Cook's novels that I have read. I loved this book, and the beautiful writing style. The novel is about Jack Branch, a local teacher and lifelong resident of the Delta. Mr. Branch begins to mentor one of his students, Eddie, who wants to learn more about his father, "The Coed Killer." In a small town, Eddie never can get away from the shadow of what his father did decades earlier. This story narrated by Mr. Branch, mostly through flashbacks. The foreshadowing is wonderfully done, and made this book a page turner, for me. I'm looking forward to more of Mr. Cook's works. ( )
  Mathenam | Sep 11, 2013 |
In Master of the Delta Cook sticks with his traditional formula of a key character narrating decades old events that shaped the inhabitants of a small southern town. He is a skillful author whose hints and innuendo keep the reader turning pages.
In this book Jack Branch, a high school teacher from an aristocratic family, mentors a solitary and underprivileged student who has chosen to write a term paper about his murderous father. Jack’s motives are not entirely altruistic. Rather, Jack wants to take credit for lifting the boy from social isolation due to his past.
Lines are drawn early between the good and the bad characters. And then, like drops from a broken faucet, the details of an incident emerge. With the turn of a phrase or an account of court testimony, the narrator plants a seed of doubt about who is good and who is bad. The reader starts wondering, or maybe trying to guess at what might have happened. Clearly, not all is as it seems. Not until the final pages does the narrator reveal the full scope of a tragedy with heartbreaking consequences.
  refice | May 22, 2010 |
Available at my blog: http://www.thelitwitch.com/?p=85 ( )
  thelitwitch | Feb 4, 2010 |
Publishers have obviously waited until near the end of the year to unleash their latest batch of titles on hungry thriller fans – in good time to whet the appetites of readers who will soon be receiving their Christmas bonus.

The four titles I have read this month are of a generally high standard: Cook’s Master of the Delta is a literary novel set in a small town in the Deep South. Jack Branch, scion of an old aristocratic family, is a dedicated teacher who is fascinated by a boy in his class, Eddie Miller, son of the notorious ‘Coed Killer’.

He mentors Eddie, with disastrous consequences: tortured minds not physical torture, violent emotions not violent actions and bathos not bullets lend this book its unique edge… ( )
  adpaton | Oct 22, 2008 |
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I was badly shaped by my good fortune and so failed to see the darkness and the things that darkness hides.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0151012547, Hardcover)

In 1954 Mississippi, Jack Branch returns to his father’s Delta estate, Great Oaks, to perform an act of noblesse oblige: teaching at the local high school. Conducting a class on historical evil, Jack is shocked to discover that his unassuming student Eddie is the son of the Coed Killer, a notorious local murderer. Jack feels compelled to mentor the boy, encouraging Eddie to examine his father’s crime and using his own good name to open the doors that Eddie’s lineage can’t. But when Eddie’s investigation leads him to Great Oaks and to Jack’s own father, Jack finds himself questioning Eddie’s motives—and his own.

As the deadly consequences of Jack’s actions fall inescapably into place, Thomas H. Cook masterfully reveals the darker truths that lurk in the recesses of small-town lives and in the hearts of even well-intentioned men.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:53 -0400)

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They call Eddie Miller 'The Coed Killer's Son' because when Eddie was five years old, his father killed a college girl, dismembered her body, and buried the pieces in woods. Where Eddie's family name has brought only infamy, Jack's has bestowed respect. To exorcise the burden, his teacher Jack encourages Eddie to confront past and discover truth about his father.… (more)

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