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Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers

Indie Next List

Amazon Best Books

Southern Living's Best Books of 2017

UK Gold Dagger Award longlist

Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle finalist

Desperation Road’s brooding atmosphere lights up often with strong scenes of high tension. Smith writes shapely prose and sharp dialogue and everywhere displays an acute sense of the moments and pain that can define lives.” 

Kirkus Reviews (starred)


“Michael Farris Smith is one of the best writers of his generation, and this very well may be his best work — taut, tense and impossible to put down.” 

Tom Franklin, NYT bestselling author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter 


Desperation Road fuses the hardboiled, violent elements of noir with patient, graceful characterization and drop-dead gorgeous prose. Michael Farris Smith proves his Mississippi literary mettle, in spades.” 

Chapter 16


“[After Rivers] Now we are favored with the publication of Desperation Road, which doesn’t meet or exceed expectations so much as blows the doors, windows and roof off of the house in which it lives. It’s a book for which you’ll want to set aside everything else…It’s still early in 2017, but my money is on the proposition that Desperation Road will find itself on many ‘Best Of’ lists and award presentations of all genres.” 



“The book is elegant, even profound, the cadence of the words alluring, bringing the reader deeper into this world of gray.” 

The Clarion-Ledger


“Smith is cementing his place in the Southern literary canon. And despite all of the comparisons to some of literature’s biggest names, he’s not copying anyone. Desperation Road is a story all his own: deep, dark, redemptive and hard to forget.” 

Deep South Magazine


“What pushes Desperation Road to Great Novel status is the beauty of Smith’s prose.” 

The Bitter Southerner


Desperation Road takes place in Mississippi, the land of William Faulkner, Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, Mark Twain and even Cormac McCarthy, all peddlers of Southern disillusionment. Now Michael Farris Smith will be added to that list …. It’s a beautiful slice of life filled with honor, loyalty and bravery as exists among life as low as it can only be in Dixie.” 

The Durango Telegraph


“Michael Farris Smith is incredibly gifted; emotion and poetry soak his straightforward prose, its easy flow masking the precision behind every word. He imbues the everyday slog of difficult lives with reverence and grace, painting the faintest glimmer of hope in opportunities lost and prices paid for flying too close to the web.” 



“Welcome to Faulkner country, where the past is a force with a gravitational pull of its own. But Michael Farris Smith’s tale of two acts of violence and their tangled aftermath has a yearning voice all of its own.” 

Barnes & Noble Discover Reviews


“[Desperation Road] is told in a cool, detached style that flickers with poetic splendour. Repetitions, the falling cadences of country music, phrases strung together in long passages of sustained beauty: it’s rare for desperation to be rendered with such intensity.” 

The Spectator


“Elegant prose and masterful storytelling transform this tale into a work of literary art.” 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


“[Smith is] a Mississippi native who’s already made an impression among the treasury of gifted writers….a story that’s as gritty as a gravel road and characters as resilient as anyone who claims the Magnolia State as home. …Some might peg the novel as Southern Gothic, but it’s so much more than that.” 

The Times Record


Desperation Road reads as if it were forged in a fire stoked by the ghosts of Carson McCullers, Larry Brown, and William Gay. Smith’s terse, muscular prose renders this novel as rich and alive as any you’ll find in contemporary fiction.” 

Wiley Cash, NYT bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy


“Smith writes in spare, sharply observed language like a more colloquial take on Cormac McCarthy’s voice in The Border Trilogy….The steady accumulation of phrases in Smith’s prose conveys a sense of control even as the characters’ lives seem marked by random misfortunes.” 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Desperation Road is an elegantly written, perfectly paced novel… An outstanding performance.” 

Ron Rash, NYT bestselling author of Serena and The Cove


“Smith once again uses his native Mississippi as the perfect backdrop for this dark, satisfying novel of coincidence and revenge. VERDICT: Smith’s second novel is every bit as good as his first, an excellent piece of Southern crime fiction.” 

Library Journal


“Michael Farris Smith is a prodigiously talented writer whose new book is not only an exciting read but an important literary event.” 

Robert Olen Butler, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for A Good Scent from A Strange Mountain


“This book tore at my heart and infected my brain. It reminded me how powerful literature can be, and how often it falls short. Michael Farris Smith is a huge talent.” 

Richard Grant, award-winning journalist and author of Dispatches from Pluto

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