South By Southwest

Written by Johnny D. Boggs
Review by Patricia O’Sullivan

Zeb Hogan has a mission to carry out for the Union’s 16th Wisconsin: find and kill the traitor Sergeant Ben DeVere. It is a mission of honor, one Zeb will do anything to fulfill, even when that means crawling out of his shallow grave outside a Confederate prison camp. But while Zeb is coming back from the dead, he’s being watched by Ebenezer Chase, an escaped slave who is also on a mission: to find his wife and daughter who have been sold and transferred to a plantation in Texas. Zeb and Ebenezer join forces, helping each other survive, sometimes arguing, and all the time developing a deep respect for the other’s experiences and skills.

South by Southwest is an engaging story with a terrific opening sequence followed by many more like it. Zeb and Ebenezer are unlikely companions who learn on their journey from South Carolina to Texas a lot about themselves, each other, and life in a South in ruins towards the end of the Civil War. This is strong middle-grade fiction with some Christian themes, especially at the end of the novel.