Black Cat
Black Cat
Black Cat

The Great State of West Florida

by Kent Wascom

From the beloved author previously compared to Cormac McCarthy and Joyce Carol Oates (Washington Post), a startling and unconventional neon-pink Western of vengeance, family, and first love as two warring factions vie for control of a blood-soaked Gulf Coast

  • Imprint Black Cat
  • Page Count 256
  • Publication Date May 21, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6284-7
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $17.00
  • Imprint Black Cat
  • Publication Date May 21, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6285-4
  • US List Price $17.00

It’s 2026, and Rally is thirteen years old. The long, hot Louisiana summer looms before him like a face-melting stretch of blacktop, and the country is talking civil war while his adoptive family acts more vicious than ever. Rally spends his days wondering about his dead father’s people, the Woolsacks of West Florida, who long ago led a failed rebellion to carve their own state from the swamp and sugar-sand of the coast. That family might have been his too—if his mother and a crew of vigilantes hadn’t tried to kill them all back when he was a baby. Rally lives in the shadow of guilt and in fear of the only other survivors: his uncle Rodney, now a professional gunfighter on the app DU3L, where would-be shooters square off in armed combat, and his mysterious cousin Destiny, whereabouts unknown, whose own violence brought the massacre to an end.

When the Woolsacks’ legacy is co-opted by Troy Yarbrough, a far-right politician leading a movement to turn the Florida panhandle into a white Christian ethnostate, Rodney bursts into Rally’s life, taking him on a journey into the wild heart of West Florida, where they join forces with a woman known only as the Governor—part prophet, part machine, with her own blazing vision for West Florida. Soon Rally will learn what West Florida means to the Woolsacks, and the lengths they will go to protect it, all while he falls for the machine-gun-toting, ATV-riding girl next door.

An explosive, genre-redefining take on family, violence, and the costs of preserving a legacy in a sun-soaked world of megachurch magnates, suburban guerillas, and robotic warriors, The Great State of West Florida is also the tender coming-of-age story of a young man caught in the wheels of something bigger than he knows.

Tags Historical

Praise for The Great State of West Florida:

“Wascom’s first three novels, The Blood of Heaven, Secessia, and The New Inheritors, followed the trail of the Woolsack family of West Florida from just after the American Revolution to the turn of the 20th century—a trail marked by material success and bloody violence. They’re gorgeously written, ruthless books, evoking predecessors like William Faulkner, Mark Twain, Flannery O’Connor and Harry Crews, and capturing the darkest side of the Sunshine State’s past. With The Great State of West Florida, Wascom follows the Woolsack family into the future, although just barely—most of the book is set a couple of years from now in the Florida Panhandle . . . How it plays out is a pedal-to-the-metal wild ride, outlandish yet uncomfortably plausible. Wascom makes the satire work by always playing it just beyond the edge of reality, and here in Florida that edge is pretty far out there.”—Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times

“Chock full of rough characters, colorful language and keen insight into the violent machinations that shape much of society . . . The novel examines ever-widening social rifts in the South and imagines just how vast those fissures can become. Spoiler: violence, violence and more violence. But against that backdrop we find community and love . . . This novel is a literary fictional take on Manga, a new Southern Revisionist Western and something else unclassifiable entirely.”—Jason Christian, Southern Review of Books

“Blending satire, speculative fiction and pulp thrills, Kent Wascom’s new novel takes the reader into the near future for a glimpse of what Florida might look like a few years from now. (Hint: “Florida man” headlines are about to get a lot weirder.) It’s another impressive addition to Wascom’s wide-ranging bibliography—and a change of pace for an author who usually chronicles the region’s past.”—Tobias Carroll, InsideHook

“Wascom’s latest gothicomic novel set on Florida’s apocalyptic coast. A gritty, ominous book filled with doomed Floridians, the passages fly by with sentences that delight in propulsive excess. In the vein of Thoams McGuane’s early novels or Brian De Palma’s heyday, this stylized, savory, and witty novel wields pulp with care until it blooms into a new strain of American gothic.”—Zachary Issenberg, The Millions

“An explosive, lyrical novel following a crew of misfits through the mythos of the West.”—Gabrielle Bellot, Literary Hub

“A maniac ramble through a nightmare landscape—Southern grit lit, inspired by Jonathan Swift out of Harry Crews and Flannery O’Connor . . . Savage, funny, and, in these fractious days, doesn’t seem as exaggerated as it might have only 20 years earlier.”—Library Journal

“In Wascom’s wacky and wild fourth adventure for the Woolsack clan , lawless gunslingers and reactionary Christian nationalists face off in a divided Florida . . . This high-octane satire feels all too plausible.”—Publishers Weekly

“Inventive and propulsive . . . This bildungsroman blends satire and social criticism into a fast-paced family drama with a touch of heart. Think Holden Caulfield with a family of psychotic yet loyal gunslingers.”—Booklist

“A red-hot gun barrel of a novel. Wascom’s The Great State of West Florida is written as if Harry Crews had a fever dream of the future. Violent and strange and unnervingly recognizable, this book is a cannonade. Duck and hide or stand your ground, reader. But don’t you dare flinch.”—M.O. Walsh, New York Times-bestselling author of My Sunshine Away and The Big Door Prize

“With a punk ethos, apocalyptic plot, grindhouse style and swagger, and the poised, lyrical craftsmanship that only Kent Wascom could bring to the page, The Great State of West Florida is as bold as it is elusive. In a time where books are increasingly crammed into ever smaller and smaller genre boxes, Wascom blasts a Florida-sized hole into the expected and sends his misfit crew—guns blazing, no caution in sight, as soaked in blood as they are sweat—on a wild ride into the mythos of the West. This is Mad Max meets Planet Terror meets The Walking Dead, on a stage set for the Hatfields and McCoys.”—Steph Post, author of Holding Smoke and A Tree Born Crooked

The Great State of West Florida is full of the hopeful and the lost, dreamers and the damned. Yet, at the heart of Kent Wascom’s wild ride of a novel is one of family—what it means to lose one, to yearn for one, and to find one again in the unlikeliest of places. Told in glimmering prose, this story will find a way to make you laugh as well as break your heart.”—LaTanya McQueen, author of When the Reckoning Comes

“This book is as riveting as a sunset, as tense as high noon, all the hopeful power of a sunrise after destruction in the night. In this Kill Bill-esque intersection of revenge tales, the anti-heroes are equal parts tender and brutal. Full of real Florida details, this near-future thriller is attendant to Florida’s sorrowful history as it follows it to a stunning technicolor conclusion.”—Brenda Peynado, author of The Rock Eaters and Time’s Agent

“Kent Wascom’s The Great State of West Florida positively gleams with raw, gorgeous energy. Every chapter is sweeping and grand, to be sure. Yet every chapter is just as attuned to intimate moments between characters, the kind of moments we read for. I was spellbound by it all—this story, these characters, these sentences.”—Olivia Clare Friedman, author of Here Lies

Praise for Kent Wascom:

“One of the darkest, most compelling writerly imaginations around.”New Orleans Advocate

“[Wascom’s] style and subjects echo great Southern writers like William Faulkner and Harry Crews, continuing a tradition of recounting terrible things in deliriously beautiful language.”Tampa Bay Times

“Wascom is a careful student of history, and his portraits of America are riven with many of its seamier episodes . . . Wascom makes an art of illuminating the many ways that America’s history belies the vaunted ideals on which it was founded.”Washington Independent Review of Books

“Family drama and love story, Wascom’s latest is evidence of an evolving talent. Look for more.”Kirkus Reviews, on The New Inheritors

“Unfurling one fine sentence after another, The New Inheritors is like some magnificent dream ship from the past set to churn the waves of the present, bound for blood and beauty, and for the breaking of heads and hearts.”—Laird Hunt, author of Neverhome

“The landscape, grand and melancholy, comes alive in Kent Wascom’s The New Inheritors, shaping the characters and the history of the Gulf in illuminating ways, showing readers how much place and history can tell us about who we are.”—Chantel Acevedo, author of The Distant Marvels and The Living Infinite

“Smoke is still rising off Kent Wascom’s spectacular debut, The Blood of Heaven, but this young author is already roaring back with a sequel [Secessia] . . . Wascom is one of the most exhilarating historical novelists in the country.”—Ron Charles, Washington Post

“Wascom has been likened to Faulkner and McCarthy, and his fire-breathing, idiosyncratic style stands up to that comparison. Secessia should be greeted with trumpets and fanfare. I haven’t read a novel this exciting in a long, long time.”—Valerie Martin, author of The Ghost of the Mary Celeste and Property

“Wascom is a craftsman, and each of his lengthy, winding sentences shimmers with the tang of blood and bone and sweat, and the archaic splendor of his language.”Boston Globe

“I truly can count on the fingers of one hand the number of first novels that have ever excited me this much. Wascom made me think at times of Cormac McCarthy, Charles Frazier and William Gay, but his vision is very much his own, as is his extraordinary voice . . . This book is pure gold.”—Steve Yarbrough, on The Blood of Heaven

“Mr. Wascom’s writing rolls from the page in torrents, like the sermon of a revivalist preacher in the grip of inspiration. You can’t help listening, no matter how wicked the message.”Wall Street Journal

“With its setting, its violence-driven plot and its resonant and often harshly beautiful language, The Blood of Heaven evokes comparison to the work of Cormac McCarthy. Its mordant humor and its exploration of slavery and violence as the tragic flaws at the heart of American history—as well as its awareness of what hellish danger awaits those who are sure God is on their side—recall such writers as William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor and Mark Twain . . . Kent Wascom is a striking new voice in American fiction.”Miami Herald

Author Tour Dates



Richmond, VA


In conversation with Steve Weddle

1312 E Cary St.

Event info here

6:00 PM


Baton Rouge, LA


Time TK