The Big Thicket 

A harrowing coming-of-age tale spiced with murder, incest, and deep-woods magic. From the surprising and beautifully crafted violence of the opening sequence to the inevitable and yet unexpected ending, The Big Thicket is a savory dish indeed—and a great read.   Andrew Geyer, novelist (Meeting the Dead)

Jerry Craven's characters live in a context of the author's extensive, hard-won documentary research. In the thicket familiar to all of us, he kindles our imaginations with memorable word images of thick-beamed court rooms, country dances, rural burials, cold morning hunts, and cotton and corn farming. When his characters leave the thicket for New Orleans and elsewhere, they leave behind them a distant island, painted clearly as being apart from the rest of the world. William Seale, historian (Texas Riverman) 

Set in East Texas in 1877-80 and based on some real events, The Big Thicket is the story of Tim Coke and his best friend Lucius Simmons, an ex-slave, who struggle with the racial tensions of the Texas Big Thicket region. 


In manuscript form the novel won two awards:

     1. first place in the Frontiers in Writing contest for best novel

     2. one chapter in the book took second place for short fiction

         in the Southwest Writers Conference annual contest.

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