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Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
Sometimes, one comes upon such a unique piece of writing that he finds it difficult to categorize, but this also makes it equally memorable and appealing. Driftwood Unmasked by Gibbes McDowell is definitely fiction, but it is also self-admittedly based upon a real character existing in a real place and time. With an actual photograph of Driftwood Cory and some of his creative art to introduce and document the authentic fascination with such a “local character,” the reader finds himself instantly intrigued and immediately drawn to a man with a very mysterious and unexplained past. Mr. McDowell, however, has done more than be intrigued; he has offered up a plausible if fictional account to explain this local legend of a man whose photograph radiates so much character that an historical account simply begs to be undertaken.
Fortunately, Gibbes McDowell is the undaunted writer who chooses to reveal Driftwood Unmasked. One wonders if he might be channeling history’s spirits in the process. With elegant and simple prose, a masterful accomplishment in itself, Mr. McDowell brings together a cast of fascinating characters, a background steeped in historical actuality, a series of mini-plots worthy of a great mystery writer, hidden treasure, and down-home southern island flavor only someone impeccably acquainted with the region could possibly express. That Driftwood Cory was an Irishman is the only spoiler this reviewer intends to tell, and that could easily be deduced from the photograph itself. How he became the local hermit creating memorable driftwood art is the story McDowell writes so well. He does honor to the best rumors and conjectures, and who knows, he may be telling the most accurate story of them all.