Hell at Breach more than lives up to its awe inspiring name as a wild and wooly tale. Franklin’s stunning debut combines southern literature, historical novel, and hard boiled crime in this tale of a group of poor sharecroppers forming a gang to fight rich landowners and shop keepers (and for more self serving and nefarious reasons). Assured prose, historical detail and terrific dialogue give authenticity to the tale, but it’s the characters that make it memorable. The Widow, Tooch, the Burkes, Sheriff Billy Waite, Grant the “Detective”, and Judge Owens are among the memorable but no character however small seems short changed. This brings urgency as they plot and scheme against each other and you feel their deaths (even the psychopathic killers which there are more than a few).