Greezy Creek Reviews
An “amazing and most remarkable account” of Kentucky’s Appalachian mountains in the 1930"s and 40's, and to the customs so noteworthy of our country’s history. The incredibly beautiful language and descriptions made me feel as though I was actually there … as though I were born to the undeniable realities of its passion and pain. It is a work of extraordinary significance, one that elevates southern literature to new and promising heights … captivating (to say the least) from first page to last.
As I read Greezy Creek, I felt as though I was being transported back in time to my early days. The descriptions of life and the struggles it presented at that time in Appalachia were all too familiar to me. Being a native of that area and living there during the time the story begins, the vivid accounts of the hardships faced by the characters and their striving to deal with them, brought to mind some fond (and some not so fond) memories.
Greezy Creek is an accurate recounting of a time where the economy revolved around coal mining, moonshining, and bootlegging. I loved how you wove the story with concurrent themes, and how the two main characters (Bobby and Rubin) fought their way from adolescence to maturity in that mountainous setting. I especially appreciated how you depicted the tremendous influence of strong family ties and religious beliefs, and how you expertly wove them into the focus of the novel.
Through the use of the vernacular of Eastern Kentucky hill people, you immerse us into the story and make us feel as though we are actually taking part in the action. In addition, the intrigue of a murder investigation kept me in suspense and turning pages until the very end.
Being from Harlan county, in the heart of Appalachia, I can attest to the exactness of this story: the culture, the mindsets, and the dialect, all of which are spotless depictions. It is extremely gratifying to see a fellow Kentuckian masterfully handle a work of fiction so historically compelling and emotionally moving.
Newbury Park, California
George Justice, you have placed Greezy Creek on the map! With its poignant, rich history, and humble characters, you have brought to life a unique aristocracy unique to a time and place in the hills and back roads of Kentucky. You have superbly honed in on the Kentucky mountain dialect—its dignity and wisdom pouring forth from the mouths of characters we will likely never forget. It is, in every respect, a book I couldn’t put down, but when I finally did, I carried a new family with me, one that settled miraculously around my heart. From my perspective, Greezy Creek is a journey from laughter to tears, from poverty to abundance, from despair to courage, and from obliviousness to wisdom, and all presented by a storyteller who has that rare-and-one-of-a-kind gift of breathing life into each and every word.
Dear George Justice,
In all honesty, Greezy Creek has been one of the best books I have ever read. Your handling of the sentence is remarkable (I knew it from the very first page). I immediately fell in love with Mary Olive, Seriann, Rubin and all the other characters you so deftly brought to life. I was so drawn in by your prose that I actually felt like I was part of Greezy Creek itself. I am an avid reader, and I must say that you have a matchless talent for making characters come alive, for making them become a part of us. And your detailed attention to the creeks and hollows of Kentucky, and particularly to the flora and fauna that thrive there are exceptional. I seriously did not want the book to end. What made it even more relatable was the many stories I heard from my mother who grew up in similar circumstances in the hills and dales of Wales (as you know, many ancestors of Kentucky and the Virginia’s can be traced back to Wales). Please know that I have recommended this book to all my Kentucky bred friends, and all my non-Kentucky friends from Michigan to the Carolina’s to Florida. I simply can’t wait to get into your next book. With that said, I offer you my sincerest congratulations on an exceptional novel, one I know will eventually resonate worldwide. It is an award-winning book. I say this because exceptional work deserves exceptional recognition. I wish there was a way I could get ahold of Oprah so she could have you on her show.
A new fan
Dear Mr. George R. Justice,
Rarely do I write to authors about their work (I’m generally content to leave that to the critics), but after reading Greezy Creek, I felt compelled to revisit your website and offer my two cents, actually my “congratulations.” What can I say? … other than it being a most extraordinary journey, literally, from first page to last. Both my husband and I were captivated not only by the story itself, but by the historical content and the genuine, come-to-life characters. Your words were more like brushstrokes, so intricate, so colorful. You have a way, Mr. Justice, of elevating the written word, of bringing it to bear on our souls—much of it reading like poetry. As an educator, I know a little about language and what makes a sentence a sentence, but I can’t teach what you possess. I can only dream of reaching your level. And that, sir, is my ultimate compliment.
"Greezy Creek" can now take its place among Great Southern Literature.
Let me start by saying that you have captured the essence of what life was like in the South (specifically in the hills of Kentucky) immediately following the great depression. Accomplishing this without letting typical stereotypes stand in the way, and of understanding the myriad of personal trials (stories rife with survival, excitement, pleasure, and intrigue), you have given us a most vivid pictures of what you yourself describe as “a time and place worth remembering.” At the same time, your depictions of life as it was nearly 100 years ago can be seen in my Pikeville, Tennessee community today. Times may change but conditions for too many remain the same. Kudos to a writer who keeps us reading with astoundingly descriptive language. It is a must-read for all who love great literature. For this is exactly what it is: Great Literature.
Dr. Donald Nichols, PhD
George R. Justice, after finishing Greezy Creek, I felt that I must reach out and tell you what a special talent it takes to make us (the readers) actually “live” your story, to allow us to experience both the joy and the heartbreak of your characters. You give such vivid descriptions throughout, descriptions that awakened my sensibilities and provided me with a true taste of life in old-time Kentucky; of life lived by the founders of a raw and brutal landscape. I am especially awed by your style and vernacular, by your lyrical cadence and the depth of understanding that you bring to a dialect wrenched from the most sequestered parts of Eastern Appalachia. Greezy Creekis a triumph in my eyes. It is Southern Literature at its best, and a monument to those who carved out a life in those deep, verdant Mountains.
Honorable David E. Cain
Appellate Court Judge
Mr. Justice, Greezy Creek is a spectacular book that makes the heart ache, the stomach clinch, and where one’s emotions are left reeling. You have captured the intimate details of life in Eastern Kentucky at a time when it was a struggle just to survive. It is an incredible story of love and strife, of untold joy and crippling heartbreak, of determination and iron will, of wit and wisdom, and of the unbridled devotion of family. I’ve recommended it to all of my co-workers, family, and friends, as has all the members of our book club. It is truly a book for all the ages, and will forever be a part of my library. Without reservation, I give it a full five stars, and then some!!! I’m hoping you will be amenable to giving a talk at our rather sizeable Ohio book club the next time you’re in Columbus. We already love you, so why not?
Mary Ann Cain
RN, BSN, MA
George R. Justice, I must say that you are an extraordinary talent. Right from the beginning, your story immersed me in a culture and place as foreign and familiar as the characters of Greezy Creek themselves; characters that become more and more alive with each page turned. Your prose is as rich as the fertile Appalachian soil, and the imagery more vivid than any High Definition screen. I thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to a place and time I’ve never known, but have come to truly embrace. I’m recommending Greezy Creek without reservation to all readers appreciative of exceptional literature. I sincerely look forward with great anticipation to your next endeavor.
Dr. Maria Crumes
Rochester Hills, MI
Mr. George Justice, you should know that I had the privilege of visiting your beloved Greasy Creek some thirty years ago, much of it, to my surprise, unchanged from your accounts within the covers of your novel.
It was there, on those western slopes of eastern Kentucky, that I met what surely was some of your family, who extended to me a genuine and humble hospitality. It was there that I had the opportunity to listen to their stories and folklore, music and traditions. It was there that I walked the many mining trails and explored the untold beauty of its creeks and hollows.
The time I spent in Greasy Creek gave me an abiding understanding of its people, their aspirations, their dogged determination, their common decency and sense of self worth … a people who know the rudiments of survival, and a people I right away came to admire.
Little is written about this area of our country and its people, especially in the period between the two world wars. Or should I say, little is written with such gravity and conviction that you give to Greezy Creek. My wife and I are both fascinated by your writing.
Because of my unforgettable experiences while visiting Greasy Creek, your story became all the more real. What you have done is truly a remarkable work, full of the same resolve that I witnessed first hand those many years ago. You not only captured the heart of its people, but the culture and essence of those times. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a novel so engrossing. You are truly an accomplished writer, Mr. Justice, your mastery of the written word is head and shoulders above anything on the market today – truly engaging from first page to last. You are truly a son of Appalachia.
Dr. Gerald Gilroy
East Lansing, Michigan
If you want a novel that keeps you wanting more with each turn of a page, this is the one for you. Excellent writing. Truly feel as if you're in the book itself. I would read it over and over.
I have not read a book as beautifully written as Greezy Creek by George R. Justice in at least a decade. Each word builds a perfect sentence to create a perfect paragraph to create a perfect page. Pick up a copy & visit another place in another time. Greezy Creek is perfect old school southern writing in the vein of Pat Conroy, William Faulkner, Daniel Wallace, James Dickey, and William Styron. I would have to include Truman Capote in that list of Southern writers as well. I’ve posted my comments to both Facebook and Twitter, and tagged a couple of authors I follow: Stephen King, Alma Katsu, Richard Chizmar, and Peter Straub in my recommendation.
Mr. Justice has written a wonderful story about the people of Appalachia during the 1930’s and forward. The story itself is has the feel of authenticity, created by the great descriptions of the hardscrabble life of these rugged people and the realism of their down-home dialog. The author’s development of the characters is full-blown and artfully done. The story itself moves toward a compelling conclusion, all the while making insightful observations of the common struggles we all face, and specifically the hardships and challenges his characters encounter. Beyond those traits, the book is characterized by beautiful writing that often reads more like poetry than prose. Justice’s phraseology and syntax create a beauty I have seldom encountered, even in books authored by proven novelists. His descriptions of the physical world of that region of Kentucky, including masterful pictures of plants, forests, mountains, places and people are superb. I heartily recommend this book to any reader who appreciates high-quality writing. It is, in a word, entrancing … from first page to last.
Neil E. Veydt, Ph.D
I cannot remember ever reading a book that is so beautifully written. George Justice is an incredible wordsmith. I felt like I was actually part of the Greezy Creek community. the character development is superb. And reading this book during our "new normal" reminded me that we are a community no matter what. I couldn't put the book down and hated when I finished reading it. I can't wait for more by this author. I would definitely recommend this book for a great bookclub discussion. It is a must read. Five Stars!!!
George Justice skillfully takes the reader to the backwoods of Kentucky, vividly describing its landscape and people. His effective use of the first-person narrative and local dialect realistically tells the story in an absorbingly personal manner. I highly recommend this well-written novel with its descriptive imagery and compelling storyline. I give it a resounding two thumbs up ... from beginning to end.
Greezy Creek is like a walk into the past. A culture that only those who grew up in that area can completely understand. It is a perfect blend of historical fiction and southern writing at its best. A full five-star read.
Mary J. Collins
In a word: "captivating." I couldn't wait until I finished this book to say that I was enthralled from the very beginning. The way in which the author describes the characters, as well as the time and place, brings the story to life with each turn of the page. It is, categorically, a crown jewel of historical fiction. I wait with great anticipation to read what George Justice next has in store.
If you grew up with a special friend in a close community of beloved (and some feared) people, you will love Greezy Creek, a poignant, melodiously written new novel by George Justice. If perchance you are from Kentucky or anywhere near Appalachia, this book will dance on and vibrate every “dang Hillbilly nerve” in your brain with tales of moonshine-dealing, herb-hunting grandmothers; pipe-smoking, tobacco-chewing, speaking-in-tongues aunts; cats in the rafters, and very human people struggling to survive in the 1930’s depression era. Add in a couple of grizzly murders of down-right mean people who deserved nothing less, and you have a plot that makes this 569 page, poetic book keep you up at night. Highly recommended. Max R. Terman, author and professor emeritus, Tabor College
Max R. Terman
Ph. D. Professor Emeritus
“Greezy Creek” is remarkably far-reaching in both style and content. Its intricate and effortless prose come together as a powerful catalyst, making the wonders of characters so real. I was left with a sunset of grief at having to ultimately say good-bye. From first page to last, George Justice shows just how revealing the embrace of family can be, and how it can open up fresh windows into our very souls. I look forward to rereading “Greezy Creek” at my earliest opportunity. Highly recommended!!! Five stars!!!
Rev. Dennis O. Rinehart
(Retired) United Methodist Clergy
Dear George Justice,
I’ve recently started reading “Greezy Creek” and like it a lot. I’ve always been fascinated by eastern Kentucky. It reminds me of the remotest parts of the Arkansas Ozarks before the influx of retirees from the Midwest. In 1974 in my first race, a moonshiner from Jasper, on the Buffalo River, was a big help.
After World War II, a lot of Arkansans, black and white, made their way to the Detroit area for jobs, a story like your family’s.
Your writing is remarkable, full of the rhythm of your roots. Hope I get to meet you someday.
President Bill Clinton
by Beatus from Online Book Club » 10 Feb 2021
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Greezy Creek" by George R. Justice.]
4 out of 4 stars
George R. Justice is a brilliant author. In his book, Greezy Creek, he brought alive the backdrop of breathtaking Kentucky's mountain scenery. The prologue introduces the protagonist, Rubin Cain, a retired sheriff receiving a letter from his friend, Calvin, a Cincinnati judge. Calvin is serving on a three-judge panel, taking a plea in a murder case that he thinks involves Rubin's relatives from Greezy Creek. This letter reminded Rubin of sixty-eight years ago, during the recession after his father died. The time when mystery, murder, genuine friendship, and an epic journey to self-discovery began.
Rubin grew up in a place called Caney Creek. After his father died, he went to live with his grandmother, a traditional healer. When Rubin turned fourteen, he finally moved to Greezy Creek to live with his aunt Mary Olive. Here, wits and determination are survival's primary requirements. The mountains and the weather had a way of toughening up the residents of Greezy Creek, whose employment of choice would've been bootlegging Moonshine whiskey if it weren't for the law. In Greezy Creek, to be legally right may not be enough, and to be morally right may not be the most comfortable choice.
The author intricately elaborated the most complicated life's experiences with such intensity that I became the protagonist in my mind. I got interested in this book immediately after I saw the cover. This book is a work of art perfected from the characters' demeanor to their accent, making it easy for the reader to conjure vivid images rich with voices and even smells. At five hundred seventy-seven pages, the tome is full of twists, turns, and heart-wrenching moments.
I loved everything about this narrative because it highlights some things I've seen happen in Tanzania. Before the planting season and during the harvesting season, every farmer will perform a ritual to protect the farm and crops. The belief is, if you don't, you may never harvest at all, and if you do, you will be doing it for someone else. It was very intriguing to know that rituals were a thing in Kentucky in the 1930s.
I commend the author for engaging professionals to edit this book, for I found very few errors. I recommend this book to readers who'd enjoy a bit of history and an excellent hard-knock life story in Kentucky, USA, in the 1930s. Because the book contains some violent scenes, it may not be suitable for younger readers. With such brilliant writing style, structure, and detailed narration, I have no other choice but to rate Greezy Creek by George R. Justice 4 out of 4 stars.
The following website is the review of Greezy Creek from Online Book Club