Debut Novel, Lady Chevy, named one of The Ten Best Crime Novels of 2020 by The New York Times
NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW - LADY CHEVY
“Woods makes Amy so sympathetic, her life so bleak and her options so limited that she becomes a paradigm for the entire valley, robbed of its youth and denied its future. She’s quite a remarkable character. Amy comes from tough stock, a clan of miners whose faces are bared in the old photos people hang in their homes. Woods writes in the same style as those photographs, wrapping beauty in shocking misery.” -- Marilyn Stasio
“Using stark imagery and evocative prose, Woods paints an unflinching portrait of small-town brutality and despair. Fans of Appalachian noir will be well satisfied.” ― Publishers Weekly
“Woods’ accomplished but very dark novel about a town where violence is epidemic is an extended exercise in a kind of nihilism. It is unsettling and invites long thoughts about the world Amy inhabits.” ― Booklist
“An Appalachian Bildungsroman, a moral depiction of amoral characters in a hardscrabble world, and an all-around compelling story, Lady Chevy is an outstanding literary debut.” ― The Observer
LA BOTTEGA DEI LIBRI
"Intertwining noir tones and daily horror atmospheres, John Woods tells of a violent and mistreated America, devastated by irremediable moral ambiguities."
LA STAMBERGA D'INCHIOSTRO
"Lady Chevy is a novel that encompasses much more than the violence, noir, and horror with which it is imbued. It is a current, extremely real story that helps us get closer and understand a part of contemporary history."
ESMERALDA VIAGGIE LIBRI
"In Lady Chevy, John Woods' elegant and powerful prose gives us a glimpse of atrociously current life that literally shivers with its delicate ruthlessness."
LEGGENDO A BARI
"Impeccable pen, direct and never predictable language, perfect characterization and a story that clings tooth and nail: these are the ingredients for a formidable debut novel."
CONTORNI DI NOIR
"Lady Chevy is a novel about survivors of war, possible but missed futures, systemic violence, family, poverty, adolescence. Amy Wirkner lives in a world at the beginning of energy autophagy, in an environment where the signs of collapse are beginning to be evident and she is fighting for a seat on the lifeboat. Thanks to her John Woods showcases the demons that paw and emerge in the Anthropocene novel. Where no one is innocent."
"A great debut for John Woods, who reveals an enormous narrative talent and a good dose of cynicism, the one that dusts a story of growth and self-affirmation with pitch black, making it unforgettable."
HOEPLI - LA GRANDE LIBRERIA ONLINE
"Visceral and gloomy, John Woods' novel tells with noir tones a land where life is a war, who is right and who is not, who eats and who is eaten. It is a world of loneliness, steeped in hatred and malaise: we get sick of poisons and food, we grow up educated to live at the expense of others, because the strongest survives, the others stay behind, and morality is a game of words made up, an illusion to make people feel good. In this darkness, we do not know the meaning of the soul, but only that of power, where brutality flows from the most hidden ravines, like a devil who makes us burn in his own flames in a daily damnation."
"John Woods' style is impressive, he deeply analyzes his characters. And it offers many food for thought to its readers, who try to guide without ever revealing too much, to keep the attention steady. The development of this novel is reminiscent of a classic such as Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment."
LETTURE DI KATJA
"Lady Chevy is an intriguing journey. Not easy to catalog. A noir, a detective story, a novel, contours that blend perfectly in a story that grows despite the abyss of the protagonists’ souls."
LEGGERE LIBERANDO LA MENTE
"The landscape is truly bleak, the atmospheres dark and angry like the citizens of Barnesville. "Lady Chevy" is a novel that represents many sides of our being, even the monstrous ones we have and most of the time we keep at bay."
"John Woods gives us a glimpse of an American society which, although it occupies the throne of the largest democracy in the world, is charged with discrimination and violence, giving rise to crude, insensitive and even ferocious events."
"Nobody is saved in this Anthropocene novel. In Lady Chevy by John Woods, the purity of nature is overshadowed by a legacy of slavery and white supremacism."
"A raw violence lacerates many pages of this debut novel, concentrating on images that are extremely difficult to accept: John Woods spares the reader nothing; on the contrary, he asks to trust his narrative choices, because then everything will make sense. And in fact, violence is not gratuitous: it is the dramatic manifestation of a world in which values have been subverted, the framework of an armed America in which the driven individualism and poverty created by capitalism have dug deep furrows, up to sever the value of collectivity and respect for the life of others."
LA STAMPA - TUTTO LIBRI
"An unsweetened snapshot of the current social USA panorama."
LIBERI DI SCRIVERE
"Woods is very good at telling both sides of the human heart, the presentable parts of our personality, as well as those of which we are ashamed, he does it without moralisms or hierarchies, with the awareness that the human being is a complex machine, in which there is a place for grace and ferocity. As in life."