Daniels, R. Cathey, Live Caught

In Live Caught (Black Lawrence Press 2022) by R. Cathey Daniels, we meet Lenny after he’s stolen money and a skiff in an attempt to escape his abusive older brothers and ride the rivers until reaching the Atlantic Ocean. Lenny is fourteen, and his family farm in western North Carolina has become a nightmare – he’s already lost an arm and isn’t sure which of his brothers’ experiments is going to kill him. But he doesn’t get very far when his boat and all the money he’s stolen sink in a huge storm. If not for a crazy old priest who pulls him out from under a log, he’d be dead. Now the priest provides Lenny with a home and work. Lenny makes friends, especially with a stoner who seems to be drugging his own baby daughter. It soon becomes clear that the priest is running an illegal drug operation to provide for the poor people in his struggling parish. And a crooked local cop wants to collect a tax on the illegal drugs. Just like at home, Lenny’s not sure he’s going to survive.

Cathey Daniels grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, attended Breward College and graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill with a master’s degree in education. She is a 2016 graduate of the Stanford University Novel Writing Program. She was a semi-finalist in the North Carolina Writers’ Network Doris Betts Fiction Prize in 2021, a semi-finalist for the 2020 University of New Orleans Press Novel Contest, and won first prize in the 2018 Retreat West First Chapter Competition. When Daniels isn’t writing, she can be found in her garden, hiking, or shooting hoops with her grandchildren in her backyard in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.