The Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County
When Declin Ostrander arrives in Lickskillet, South Carolina, he encounters a town on edge: after a grisly hate crime in their most affluent gated community, the citizens have adopted extreme caution and comical political correctness. The lynching coincides with a series of strange occurrences: the haunted house burns down, the local swimming hole is filled in to make space for condominiums, and a corporate lawyer arrives in town to defend the accused– a lawyer who happens to be Declin’s father.
He moves to a new city every six months, sometimes once a year. Such might be the duration of the average hate crime trial. Every town the same: a new racism, a new house, a new you. Declin’s father works for the infamous Knights of Southern Heritage, a cultural group often accused of hate crimes, and though he does not care fondly for the Knights or the victims, he relishes the chance to constantly move from town to town, to essentially recreate himself.
Some days he manifests a surfer dude, others a one-eyed bullfighter. When Declin arrives at Lickskillet High, he is macho incarnate, ladies’ man to the extreme, but when he encounters the local teen scene, he must quickly adapt to a new lifestyle. He struggles to relate with others and must seek out his own identity in the wake of tragedy.
The book re-landscapes the South as an absurdest menagerie of Southern heritage groups, social segregation, and corrupt local politics. At the center stand the disaffected and aloof teens of Lickskillet, crusading against the humid hum of boredom with reckless mischievousness, post-modern apathy, and redeeming humanity.