The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz

The Gone Dead

An electrifying first novel from “a riveting new voice in American fiction” (George Saunders): A young woman returns to her childhood home in the American South and uncovers secrets about her father’s life and deathBillie James’s inheritance isn’t much: a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta. The house once belonged to her father, a renowned black poet who died unexpectedly when Billie was four years old. Though Billie was ...

Details The Gone Dead

TitleThe Gone Dead
Release DateJun 25th, 2019
GenreFiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Audiobook

Reviews The Gone Dead

  • Diane S ☔
    A debut novel of history and family in the Mississippi delta. Billie, her father found dead in what was called an accident when she was four, returns to the Delta in what she hopes is a short visit. Her mother recently gone as well, she wants to see, what is basically little more than a shack and to visit her uncle, her father's much young brother. She finds more than she expected and finds herself the target of those who do not want the truth of...
  • Linda
    C'mon now.....The Gone Dead takes you by the hand and slow walks you through the uneven roads of the Mississippi Delta. At first, you feel a distant beckoning and the weight of the humid air bogging down on you as you near the swampy creeks. And then comes the rapid motion of that yank on your torso as you find yourself diving right in.Billie James has not been back for over thirty years. She had left her past life in Mississippi and went on to l...
  • Faith
    In 2002 when Billie inherits the house in which her father Clifton died 30 years before, she returns to Mississippi and discovers that his death had not been as straight forward as it appeared. Clifton had been a well known black poet and was divorced from his white wife Pia. Billie was 4 when her father died. I enjoyed the dialogue and the characters, particularly Billie, her uncle Dee and her father’s girlfriend Carlotta. I also admired Billi...
  • Kelli
    I spent one long, hot summer in the Mississippi Delta back in the mid-Eighties. My Boston accent and northern roots made it impossible for me to blend in, and the fact that it was less than twenty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King was completely lost on me at the time. I was young and idealistic, and I couldn’t see or understand the ugliness where I lived or where I visited to that point in my life. While I met many lovely peo...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    The Southern mystery with a strong sense of place is not a new genre, but it is a mostly white one. It's wonderful to see Chanelle Benz join the field with THE GONE DEAD, which feels like it belongs with other Mississippi-set modern work from writers like Jesmyn Ward and Kiese Laymon. Most would probably classify this as a "literary" crime novel, it has a slow pace and no big payoff, but once you get past the first few chapters it's quite addicti...
  • ☮Karen
    3.5 stars.I thought this started out strong with an intriguing hook. When Billie travels to her birthplace in rural Mississippi, where she's inherited her grandmother's house, she learns that the night her father died, she herself was reported missing, a time that she has no recollection of at all. Can you imagine learning such a thing and how you'd react? The more questions she asks, the more she needs to find out. People are getting upset with ...
  • Taryn
    Read the whole thing in a day because I couldn't put it down. This is a literary mystery set in Mississippi about a woman who returns to her father's hometown to find out the truth about his death. Officially it was ruled an accident, but the reaction of locals (including her own family members) as she investigates makes it clear there's more to the story. I was totally sucked in--so atmospheric, I could practically feel the sticky heat of the So...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    Just ok. I felt there were too many extraneous characters and the plot was not very original. 2.5 Just ok. I felt there were too many extraneous characters and the plot was not very original. 2.5⭐️
  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    Billie James returns to the Mississippi Delta after a thirty year absence. After her mother's recent death, she's inherited her father's old home that has set vacant for so long it's little more than a shack. All that Billie knows is that when she was four years old her father Cliff was found dead in his front yard. The police claim Cliff was intoxicated and died from a fall. In 1970's Mississippi, that was as far as the investigation into a blac...
  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
    Full review to follow.
  • Paris (parisperusing)
    If Jesmyn Ward and Gillian Flynn came together on a novel, it would surely look like this.In Chanelle Benz's debut novel, The Gone Dead, one biracial woman's return to the Mississippi Delta threatens to unearth secrets of her father’s life and death which have long since been buried by a community wounded by racism. As the novel progresses, Benz proves just how little we've come in the way of siding with solidarity over inequality, and no one l...
  • Erica
    3.5 starsAs soon as Billie mentions she inherited a house in the south from her grandmother, I was so worried this was going to be another The Fixer Upper or Queen Sugar. The good news: It's not! It's not about a dimwitted pretty girl from the north who got a house in the south and has men crawling all around her in the most gentlemanly of fashions.In fact, she mows the yard at one point and gets a blister that hangs around for days and I was fil...
  • Elizabeth
    ...And my mother, my momma said there ain't no justice in the world, baby. We have to wait till the next."this is an unnerving southern narrative that i could not put down. (view spoiler)[on the surface this is a story about a daughter seeking answers about her father's death. as billie searches for answers i could feel the weariness of all those involved in the crime & could not stop thinking about the trauma & legacy of slavery. it is an uncomf...
  • Aria
    ---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ---- Dnf in the middle of p. 28, after trying 3 different times to get through this book. It's bloody awful. Literally from the 1st words I was rearranging these so-called sentences & paragraphs so they might make some type of sense. There's also random extraneous info. thrown in all over the place, & a complete lack of style. To further muddy the waters, the pronoun usage is sloppy ...
  • Doreen
    This book was a disappointment. I was expecting a mystery with some focus on serious issues, but there is no real mystery, just people not wanting to discuss the past and confront racial injustice.After an absence of three decades, Billie James returns to the Mississippi Delta. She has inherited the house where her father Clifton, a well-known black poet, died in 1972, 30 years earlier. During her time in Glendale, she finds out that some people ...
  • Nick Gardner
    Chanelle Benz is a literary acrobat. Her writing style can be blunt or flowery. The prose flowed beautifully and this book was perfectly paced, quick to read, easy to understand, while still playing with words and colloquialism. Knowing Benz from her short fiction, I had no idea for about half the book which way things were going to go. But then it got predictable. The final half of the book, the reader knows what happened, can easily guess what ...
  • Straw
    One of those books that has an incredibly interesting premise and characters but gets stuck spinning the wheels. The wrap up at the end felt abrupt.
  • Taylor Givens
    3.5***One of the prompts for my local public library's reading challenge this year is a book related to your ancestry. I was struggling to find something and a cool librarian recommended this to me. I follow new releases pretty closely so I was surprised to have never heard of this book or author, especially since the synopsis sounded like it would be right up my alley. It was. I missed the buzz on this (if there was any?) and went into this book...
  • Chaya Nebel
    This novel is a mix of a mystery/crime novel, with the protagonist trying to solve the mystery of what happened to her father 30 years ago, and an exploration of race in the deep south, with its abiding racism 30 years ago, with lingering effects into the present. It's a little slow moving, as Billie comes to terms with various issues. First there are family members she hasn't seen in ages, like uncles, cousins and so on. There are white people w...
  • Melanie
    4.5 starsMy review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at Benz is a new-to-me author, but when I saw that Bahni Turpin was the narrator, I decided to look further into the story. I liked the sound of the book blurb, so I decided to give this book a go. I’m really glad that I did. I had a great time reading this story and trying to figure out what was going on this small town on the Mississippi Delta.Billie...
  • Mrtruscott
    My tepid 3 stars are probably my fault, and not this author’s, as I’ve read too many variations of this tale. A character returns ‘home’ to deal with secrets and family histories and, oh dear, another box of (musty, I presume?) letters and papers that are discovered and hold clues to those secrets. Sigh. What genre will offer me a needed change of pace? I liked the poet dad, who, unfortunately was not alive in this book... he was realisti...
  • Meg Lelvis
    I gave up after reading about 55-60 pages. i never engaged with the characters and got bored with the various POV's and their stories. Hard to keep the characters straight at first. I rated it three stars because of the good quality of the writing and the author's capturing different dialects.
  • Gerry
    I'm not sure how I stumbled onto this novel by an author who's new to me, but I'm glad I did. Benz writes well, and develops her characters and story line in realistic fashion. In The Gone Dead, a young Philadelphia woman, born of a white mother and a black father in Mississippi in the late 1960's, returns to the Delta to claim a house she's inherited from her grandmother. She hardly knew her father, who died when she was only three, and is surpr...
  • Sue
    I loved this debut novel set in the Delta. I'm a big fan of stories set in this area. It seems like the characters tend to be so different yet similar to many I know. The setting is moody, prejudicial and relations with outsiders can be viewed with suspicion. This is what Billie encounters when she returns home to Mississippi to claim her small inheritance left to her by her renowned poet father. Both of her parents have died, her mother recently...
  • Chloe
    Read for October 2019 book club I think the inexperience of the author really came through in the writing. This was the most plodding and straightforward murder mystery I've ever read, full of thinly veiled writing conceits and poorly drawn characters. I'm left wondering what this book is, exactly - a social commentary? A family drama? (view spoiler)[(In the same vein as "it's always the husband"/"the butler did it," was her point that it's alway...
  • Brenda Scanzillo
    A slowly unwinding Southern mystery, I enjoyed The Gone Dead quite a bit - with some caveats. Benz’s story - Billie, in her 30s, inherits the house where her father died and she went briefly missing when she was four, and starts barking up the wrong white-supremacist tree as comes to believe her fathers death was not an accident and searches for the truth - was strong, as was the character development; I found myself really rooting for Billie a...
  • VL
    I haven't read Chanelle's short story collection but after reading this, I think I need to go back and rectify that.
  • Elizabeth Willis
    Just when I leave the South, I'm suddenly in this trend of reading the best Southern fiction I've ever encountered. There's so much brilliance here.
  • Lulu
    This wasn’t a total dud, but it was a disappointment. The story started off kinda slow, but it’s a mystery know we have to build up to the good stuff. The rising action is actually pretty good, but the ending just made everything seem like a waste of time and there were way too many loose ends and unanswered questions. I get the author’s intentions, but this was executed poorly.
  • Beverly
    thoughts coming shortly