First a little back-story. This book was originally titled THE GIRL FROM BEAVER FLATS and was supposed to be published by Monarch Books under Thomas P. Ramirez’s Tom Phillips pseudonym. But Monarch went out of business before publishing the book, Ramirez got the rights back, and so it wound up being published a few years later by Belmont-Tower as THE SEDUCTION OF LUCY MATTSON by Dell McLaren, evidently the only time that pseudonym was ever used. I prefer the original title, but I’m just glad the book saw print.
Because this is a very good backwoods novel reminiscent of various Gold Medals by Harry Whittington and Charles Williams. Beaver Flats is a tiny, squalid Georgia town on the edge of the great Okefenokee Swamp. Lucy Mattson is the prettiest girl who lives there, and in addition to her beauty she has intelligence and ambition and wants to get out of her miserable existence and go to college. Unfortunately her father, who’s hiding a dark secret in his past, won’t go along with that, and Lucy is also tormented by the crude attentions of the local moonshine baron, the brutal Dade McEwen. Then a writer from New York named Clay Chappelle, who has demons of his own, shows up in Beaver Flats to work on a novel and befriends Lucy, a friendship that starts to develop into something more.
Most of you have probably read enough of these books to know where this one is going, and there aren’t any big plot twists, although not everything plays out exactly like I expected it to. Where THE SEDUCTION OF LUCY MATTSON really shines is in its relentless pace and in Ramirez’s vivid depiction of the setting. The swamp scenes are some of the best I’ve come across.
I probably wouldn’t have known about this book if the author hadn’t told me about it, and now I’m telling you. There are a few inexpensive copies available on-line, so if you’re a fan of the backwoods genre, you need to check out THE SEDUCTION OF LUCY MATTSON.