Wayne Hughes' fifty-year writing career included stints as a newspaper crime reporter, radio-TV journalist and freelancer. He spent more than two decades as an oil and gas lobbyist and industry spokesman, where he sharpened his skills. But, there was always the deep-seated desire to become a novelist. He realized his dream with the publication of Kilborn.
Two years research while developing the book included detailed interviews with county judges, justices of the peace, legal experts, criminal investigators, member of the Texas Rangers and two days with a spray plane pilot.
Kilborn is set in a small, slowly dying West Texas farm town very much like the one Hughes grew up in. His understanding of small-town eccentricities and intrigues helped him create a cast of characters who witness the mental deterioration and catastrophic death of one of their own.
Drake Kilborn, slowly succumbing to mental illness, returns to the dying west Texas town where his widower father is trying to keep the family business together. Drake's return brings heartache to his father, unease to a high-school sweetheart, the mysterious death of a company employee, and questions about the illegal use of crop defoliants.
Kirkus Reviews says:
The thoroughly imagined characters are often winsome.
Drake's descent into (possible) madness is effectively gradual. He begins as a nuisance, but is unsettling when he speaks to his late "momma." The ending is unexpected but excellent.
An absorbing slow-burn approach and simpatico characters make this a standout novel.