Tidewater Blood: A Novel

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Algonquin Books, 1998 - Fiction - 290 pages
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For two hundred and fifty years, the LeBlancs of Tidewater Virginia - landed, rich, and proud of it - have been celebrating their French Huguenot ancestry. Each year, over an extravagant lunch and in period costume dress, they relive the beginnings of the LeBlanc line, reminding everyone of their rise from meager beginnings to a position of great stature, wealth, and privilege. But this year's celebration goes horribly wrong. At the stroke of one, a deafening explosion brings down the massive plantation house columns, crushing every member of the family present. As the dust settles, all fingers point to the black sheep of the family, the youngest brother, Charles LeBlanc. Long estranged from his family and living in a makeshift cabin on a spit of land off the Chesapeake, Charley has managed to make more enemies than friends - he was dishonorably discharged from the army, and then served time in prison. Facing prison, if not execution, Charley takes off on the fugitive run of his life. With the police at his back, he makes his way through the mountains of West Virginia to find the real killer. What he didn't mean to discover were the even darker secrets about the LeBlanc blood.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Murder, injustice, flight, detection—a disappointingly, though expertly, formulaic tale from Hoffman (Follow Me Home, 1994, etc.). Only two misfortunes mar the festivities when the LeBlanc family ... Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Henry William Hoffman was born in Charleston, West Virginia on May 16, 1925. He attended the Kentucky Military Institute before entering the U.S. Army in September 1943. He served as a medic in the Normandy campaign and at the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. He was discharged in February 1946. He received a bachelor's degree from Hampden-Sydney College in 1949. He studied law at Washington and Lee University, but quit after the publication of his first short story in 1950. He studied at the Iowa Writers' Workshop for one year. After working in Washington, D.C., for the Evening Star newspaper and for the U.S. Department of Defense, and then in New York City for Chase National Bank, Hoffman returned to Hampden-Sydney. He taught at the college from 1952 until 1959 and was the writer-in-residence from 1966 until his retirement in 1973. He was the author of fourteen novels, four short-story collections, and two plays. His novels included The Trumpet Unblown, Days in the Yellow Leaf, The Dark Mountains, Yancey's War, Godfires, Wild Thorn, and Lies. His first collection of short stories, Virginia Reels, was published in 1978. His plays included The Love Touch and The Spirit in Me. He won the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature in 1992, the O. Henry Prize in 1996, and the Dashiell Hammett Award in 1999 for Tidewater Blood. He died on September 13, 2009 at the age of 84.

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