“One of those wonderful and rare books that’s both a page turner and a novel of great depth and emotion. The Fighter is Southern Noir at its finest.” Ace Atkins, NYT Bestselling author of The Fallen and The Sinners
“Michael Farris Smith has inherited the rough south of Larry Brown and created his own rugged terrain. The Fighter is a spare, powerful, beautifully composed work by a writer who can probe the dark side of the American dream like no other.” Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS
“With its tension-filled and enlightening final chapters, The Fighter delivers a powerful and engaging read from one of our newest and finest writers.” Tim Gautreaux, author of Signals and The Clearing
“Michael Farris Smith is so good, I might actually hate him a little bit. The Fighter is a masterful portrait of place and character and how one influences the other, with language that is both brutal and tender at once. Smith loves Jack Boucher and the Mississippi Delta to the bone.” Attica Locke, author of Bluebird, Bluebird
“I loved The Fighter. Michael Farris Smith is one of the most exciting new voices in American fiction. Just as I couldn’t put down Desperation Road till I finished, I tore through this novel.” Brad Watson, National Book Award nominee and author of Miss Jane
The acres and acres of fertile soil, the two-hundred-year-old antebellum house, all gone. And so is the woman who gave it to Jack, the foster mother only days away from dying, her mind eroded by dementia, the family legacy she entrusted to Jack now owned by banks and strangers. And Jack’s mind has begun to fail, too. The decades of bare-knuckle fighting are now taking their toll, as concussion after concussion forces him to carry around a stash of illegal painkillers and a notebook of names that separate friend from foe and remind him of dangerous haunts to avoid.
But in a single twisted night, he is derailed. Hijacked by a sleazy gambler out to settle a score, Jack loses the money that will clear his debt with Big Momma Sweet, the queen of Delta vice, whose deep backwoods playground offers sin to all those willing to pay. This same chain of events introduces an unlikely savior in the form of a sultry, tattooed carnival worker. Guided by what she calls her “church of coincidence,” Annette pushes Jack toward redemption in her own free-spirited way, only to discover that the world of Big Momma Sweet is filled with savage danger.
Damaged by regret, crippled by twenty-five years of fists and elbows, heartbroken by his own betrayals, Jack is forced to step into the fighting pit one last time, the stakes nothing less than life or death. With raw power and poetry, Michael Farris Smith cements his place as one of the finest writers in the American literary landscape.