Official Review: Bedford Forrest Rides Again

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Official Review: Bedford Forrest Rides Again

Post by ViziVoir » 28 Mar 2018, 14:50

[Following is an official review of "Bedford Forrest Rides Again" by Terence Gilmore Cady.]
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1 out of 4 stars
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Bedford Forrest Rides Again by Terence Cady is set in Crosstown in rural Texas. It follows County Sheriff Travis Boudin as he uncovers the mystery surrounding a dead child found decomposing near a river. He is joined by Bobby Hicks, an aspiring reporter with personal ties to both Crosstown and the murder. The title refers to a character who claims to be descended from the Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, who owns the van depicted on the cover. The plot points included in the novel are dark, almost excessively so, and include child trafficking and domestic violence.

From a narrative standpoint, Cady has a somewhat poor grasp of the murder mystery genre. Nearly all of the uncertainty surrounding the murder is revealed through scenes with the main antagonists in the first half of the book, effectively stripping the mystery from the story. As a result, the protagonists must spend time figuring out things the reader is already aware of. This seems like an attempt at dramatic irony, but in reality, it just means that the novel's pacing drags severely in places.

Cady also seems preoccupied with pushing his own opinion of Deep South "culture" - by which, of course, I mean endemic racism. This is completely glossed over throughout the story, and while some characters talk about African Americans, no character with more than a few bits of dialogue is actually African American. This wouldn't be quite as problematic if the plot hadn't revolved around civil war reenactments. Cady even goes so far as to include a protagonist internally referring to how Confederates of the civil war fought for a "sacred cause" during one scene.

While at first, I was willing to give the book the benefit of the doubt, I was repeatedly appalled at Cady's disrespect for both women and minorities in his narrative. There are a grand total of two female characters that are fleshed out significantly. Both have incredibly traumatic pasts, and they each really served only to further their male counterparts' stories.

I struggled a great deal with rating Bedford Forrest Rides Again. While its writing style was functional, and the plot was mostly coherent, I was really only compelled to keep reading out of a horrified fascination. Ultimately, I chose to rate it 1 out of 4 stars. I believe it failed as a murder mystery book, but it still has some merit; it exposes the violent and misguided beliefs that still surround the Civil War in some rural areas of the southern United States. I would recommend it only to people who are interested in understanding these extremely skewed perspectives. I would not recommend it to anyone simply looking for an exciting mystery novel, and especially not to anyone without enough context to understand complex social issues like racism and misogyny.

Bedford Forrest Rides Again
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Post by stacie k » 07 Apr 2018, 00:22

Child trafficking, domestic violence, disrespect for women—these are not topics I want to read about. Thanks for suffering through this one so the rest of us don’t have to.
“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable.” Proverbs 15:2a

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Post by CambaReviewer » 07 Apr 2018, 01:23

Oh dear! You obviously did not enjoy reading this book. Nice, candid review. I like your use of words: "horrified fascination". Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us and reading the book till the end. Well done!

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Post by kandscreeley » 07 Apr 2018, 19:24

I'm sorry you didn't like this one. Is it set in modern times? Or a bit earlier? That would definitely make a difference as far as the prejudice. Still, it's not really my type of book. Thanks.
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Post by Miriam Molina » 10 Apr 2018, 04:11

I do not think I can have a fascination, horrified or otherwise, for this story. Thanks for enduring your excruciating ride with Sheriff Boudin, Bobby and Bedford.
I am, however, curious about one-star reviews. I'd like to know how to give such a rating with diplomacy. You did it well, ViziVoir!

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Post by Libs_Books » 10 Apr 2018, 13:34

Thanks for a very wise and perceptive review. I'd assumed the title was a joke, and we were in for a light-hearted romp, but nothing could be further from the truth.

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Post by AmySmiles » 10 May 2018, 10:20

Sorry this wasn't an enjoyable read, I don't think it would be for me either. Thanks for the honest review.
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Post by CatInTheHat » 10 May 2018, 20:50

kandscreeley wrote:
07 Apr 2018, 19:24
I'm sorry you didn't like this one. Is it set in modern times? Or a bit earlier? That would definitely make a difference as far as the prejudice. Still, it's not really my type of book. Thanks.
I was thinking the same thing. The time period is very significant in this type of story.
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Post by Ginnamassa19 » 13 May 2018, 07:26

Thank you for the honest review--I must say I don't appreciate this book's social politics (especially when it comes to the skewed portrayal of POC and women), to discount the poor writing of his chosen genre. I don't think I'll be picking this book up.

I really appreciate your analysis of this book, though! Your critique was detailed and nuanced, and I enjoyed reading it even if I don't think I like this book very much :P

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