Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Review: The Left Lane by Keith T. Hodge

If this book were a movie, it would be rated R at the least, more probably X. It's raw. The language carries the rhythm of the streets, full of swearing, slang and a liberal use of a variation of the "n" word. It has gratuitous sex. It's a window into the drug culture of Martinsville, VA. And it's a window into custom cars and street racing.

So, why did I pick it up, since it's not like anything I normally read? Because I met Keith's momma and aunt at a book festival. They told me his story: convict, owner of a custom car company, writer. According to his aunt, he wrote the book in notebooks which his family then entered into Word for publication.

What I liked about the book was its sense of authenticity. The language and casual sex ring true. The street racing is fascinating, while the details of building custom cars would appeal more to a audience into such activities. The interactions between the main character Tyrone and his girlfriend Telina develop in the course of the story. The hood with its drug dealing and hustle are never far from the action, with some characters arrested, others killed.

This is not ripped from the headlines. Rather, it reads like it's what happens behind the headlines. The Left Lane by Keith T. Hodge delivers action in a new and authentic voice. Warning: this book is not for the casual reader because if its content, but if you persevere and finish the book, you'll have experienced a new writer with a natural talent learning his craft.


  1. I wanted to like this book. I really tried, read almost 30 pages. I think Keith Hodge is probably a good writer, one some people would read. I liked his momma and aunt, which is the main reason I bought it. But this is a nasty, vulgar book and I had more important things to do with my time. I can tell you which dumpster it's in if you want to dive for it.

  2. totally loved this review. And kudos to Keith!