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"Curing Time" Book Review:

“I loved “Curing Time”. With absorbing artistry, Tim Swink depicts the mid-life struggles of a single character to weave a multifacted tale of love and friendship, of bitter rivalry and murder, of human weakness and the magical power of life itself. As he chronicles the changes sweeping over rural America (and the nation) in the late 1950’s, Swink paints one of the truest portraits of race relations during that era that I have read. Full of great detail and insight into how a troubled soul affects all around it, “Curing Time” marks the arrival of a talented new Southern writer.”

~J. Peder Zane, author and former book review editor,
Raleigh News and Observer.

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"Curing Time" Book Reviews on

 5.0 out of 5 stars:  I love this book! A Must Read! Review By WillieReads
I love this book! “Curing Time” moved me in unexpected ways that I wasn’t ready for  and I didn’t see coming.

Tim Swink has given us a poignant portrait of a struggle that mankind has known since Adam & Eve.

What I thought was a story about tobacco farmers, I quickly discovered was a beautifully written tale of family, love, loyalty and life’s never ending changes that indeed  sometimes can change the very soul of ourselves and of our country.

The message in “Curing Time” is powerful and a must read. I’m giving it to everyone on my Christmas list. You will NOT be disappointed in this extraordinary read! 

 5.0 out of 5 stars:  Good rural southern fiction Review By Beth Hensley
I enjoyed the book, which describes many aspects of rural agricultural life in the South of years ago. I enjoyed reading about a life and lifestyle that is unknown to me, but was intimately familiar to housands throughout the south. As the plot progresses, it is hard to find qualities to like in the main character, but in the end, redemption is very satisfying. I look forward to reading more about this family in future novels. 

5.0 out of 5 stars:  Powerful work of historical fiction Review By Ernie99
I have purchased many books from Amazon but this is the first book for which I felt compelled to write a review.

Tim Swink has written a powerful work of historical fiction. This story takes place in the tobacco fields of North Carolina during the late 1950s. This book spoke to me because I grew up in the rural South in the 1950s; however the story could be about any man lost in a world changing beyond his grasp, and the fight to preserve family and livelihood.

It is the story of Hume Rankin, his family, and his way of life. It is also the story of Walt Neal. Walt Neal is the black man who works for Hume and whose family lives in a cabin on Hume’s land. Through Hume and Walt we also see a realistic look at the black and white co-dependency in the rural farm life of the 1950s. In many ways we see that the lives of Hume and Walt are more alike and more intertwined than either ever imagined.

It is through Walt’s blind wife, Daisy, that Hume is made aware of a dark underworld that a rational man would not disturb. The unfolding story leads us to question whether Hume’s desperate intrusion into this spirit world might ultimately be his undoing.

“Curing Time” is the term for the aging and maturing process that tobacco undergoes after harvest, when the tobacco is transformed into its final, perfected form. In this story we come to understand the term is also a metaphor for the “curing time” of a man’s soul. Will the change and adversity impacting Hume’s world strengthen him or will it destroy him, his family, and his way of life. Can Hume survive and adapt to the changes coming to his life?

Also, did a devastating series of misfortunes drive Hume to inconceivable violence?

In an ending twist, we find that Hume’s salvation may actually come from an unexpected source.

“Curing Time” is a multilayered and multifaceted story that would make a wonderful movie. Although it is rooted in the rural South, I believe it is a story with universal appeal. People should not think this is just a story about tobacco farming, because it is so much more than that.

I enjoyed the book and I also liked Tim Swink’s writing style. For example, the first sentence of Chapter 13 begins: “The sun peeked up over the landscape, hot and ornery— unusually so for a June that was no longer young.” Tim Swink’s vivid and descriptive writing added depth throughout this book.

“Curing Time” was a brilliant debut novel by Tim Swink, and I was happy to learn that he is now working on a sequel to “Curing Time”.

5.0 out of 5 stars:  'Curing Time', a great read! Review By Robert Godfrey 
I am just 'taken' by Tim Swink's novel, "Curing Time." I highly recommend it. Tim develops a twisting, wonderful, page-turning plot, beautiful, lovable characters, around a late 1950's rural North Carolina tobacco farming setting, which comes alive with mid-life struggle and crisis, race relations, a murder  (which the reader is certain they have solved, only to be shocked in the end), and the magic and spirit world of an old, blind black lady.

It is just a great, beautifully written book. I felt I had been on a great literary journey, full of wise lessons to be learned, while stirring the emotions from the outset. Congratulations to Tim, definitely an up and coming great southern writer. Do yourself a big favor and get a copy.

5.0 out of 5 stars: Curing Time Review By John R. Thomas (Swarthmore, PA USA)
Tim Swink is an authentic, genuine and incredible story teller. He has a talent for depicting ordinary characters in difficult lives drawing on hidden resources to survive. Magical!

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"MADD INLET" Book Reviews on


5.0 out of 5 stars: Tim Swink Is a Master Storyteller Review By Version99

“Madd Inlet” is loosely based upon a disturbingly true story. But in this case, the names here have been changed to protect both the guilty and the innocent.

I am familiar with much of the history and facts behind this story. And over the years I have spent considerable time at the locations in this book: Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle, Ocean Drive and Greensboro. I have visited the remote “Kindred Spirit” mailbox on Bird Island. And in the middle of the night I have, with almost disastrous results, missed the turn at Bonaparte’s Landing.

I have driven all the roadways in this book. So it was for me a trip down memory lane, with a detour into murder and mayhem. The way Tim Swink is able to effectively weave the fact and fiction of these places, and of this era, is the sign of a master storyteller.

But even if you are not familiar with this books coastal locales, it is still a great read with universal appeal rooted in strong characters and a killer story.

It is the story of Jack Tagger and his summer escape to the surf and sand of Sunset Beach. But this was one “trip to the beach” Jack Tagger would never forget.

Underneath it all is the story of two powerful families, and the age-old conflict between good and evil. And of the power of evil men to ruin lives and destroy dreams. It is the story of Jack Tagger discovering there is no refuge when you are straddling these two worlds.

And it is the story of an apparition.

When the grotesque apparition was first introduced I thought it was merely a fleeting hallucination. However, I quickly realized the apparition was an integral part of this complete story. I should have known after reading Tim Swink’s “Curing Time” novel that his apparitions and spirits are never fleeting.

Is the apparition, a man with no face, a foreboding about the past, the present or the future? Or could it be about all of these, with a desperate message to a grieving father not to abandon a dream.

This book tugs at all the emotions. More than once I teared up at a heart-rending passage. And more than once I was overcome with righteous anger at the actions of an evil man. This is one of the finest examples of the power of a powerful story in the hands of a great storyteller.

I never anticipated this books ending. To say I was caught off guard by the final chapter would be an understatement. Apparently for some people there is always the chance for renewal. “Kindred Spirits” indeed!

This is one of the best books I have ever read and it was hard put down. This was a trip I hated to see end, but what a trip it was!

Bottom line, this is an incredible story with intriguing characters and it has all the potential for a great movie, which I would love to see on the big screen.

I am now looking forward to attending the author’s summer book release celebration at Sunset Beach on June 29th -- at sunset of course. What a perfect location and a perfect time of day for a summer book release celebration for "Madd Inlet". It is the "in-between, soft time" -- Richardson Pierce's favorite time of day.

5.0 out of 5 stars: Madd Inlet needs a sequel! Review By Gboro

Tim Swink achieved an amazing feat in his second book, combining his intimate knowledge of North Carolina’s Sunset Beach and environs with romance, native Lumbee Indian culture, mysticism, corrupt businessmen, and crime - all with the 1960s Vietnam draft issue never far from the foreground. That Swink was able to weave many complex issues seamlessly speaks to his growing prowess as a writer and, I suspect, he will soon take his place among other Southern authors such as John Hart, Pat Conroy, and Clyde Edgerton.

5.0 out of 5 stars: Captivating - Great Read Review By Amazon Customer

Madd Inlet is real page turner. Descriptive background makes you feel you are in the middle of this captivating story. Characters development is well done. I had to purchase a second copy so my husband and I could both read it. Neither of us wanted to put it down.

5.0 out of 5 stars: Spellbinding Review By karen

I purchased this book to read while at the beach for a week. Big mistake as I finished it within 24 hours. It holds a reader’s interest and leaves the reader wanting more. The area & character descriptions are easy to visualize. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as much as I did Tim Swing’s first book, “Curing Time”. I highly recommend both.

5.0 out of 5 stars: You won't soon forget the villain in this novel! Review By sidney stern

A hard-driving story featuring a protagonist conflicted as many of us were in the late 1960's and a villain notable as an extreme example of unscrupulous small-time business types operating along the North Carolina coast during that era. This is a "trip to the beach" under genuinely frightening circumstances. Sand in your shoes combined with icy tingling along your spine. Swink has written a good one!

5.0 out of 5 stars: Could not put this down! Review By Willie Reads

I could not put this book down! This novel is riveting. Such a compelling story with intriguing characters full of twists and turns. Tim Swink enters the rarefied realm of master storytellers! You will not be disappointed with this fabulous read!

5.0 out of 5 stars: Amazing read Review By Ed Welborn

This book had me hooked from the very beginning. It was very well written. I felt a close connection with the characters and by the end of the book I felt like I knew them personally. I can't wait to read Tim Swink's next book. The first two have been outstanding.

5.0 out of 5 stars: Mad Inlet a MUST READ Review By Amazon Customer

I have grown up going to Sunset Beach every summer. This year I decided to read Mass Inlet while I was here.

I picked it up only expecting to read a few chapters while I was here. Once I picked it up I could not put it down.

I finished the book in just over 24 hours and was LITERALLY losing sleep over anticipation of what was going to happen. Tim is an amazing storyteller and so passionate about his time at Sunset. I am very glad that I decided to read this book and highly recommend it to anyone looking for their next favorite book.

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"Where The Flowers Bloomed" Book Reviews:

PRAISE FOR WHERE THE FLOWERS BLOOMED“. . . a page-turning sequel to Curing Time, his breakout novel, and picks up the story of Hume Rankin and his family in North Carolina, particularly the idealistic Thomas, in this titillating tale of southern mystery, murder, and manners, proving there is always a cost to going home. Swink firmly lodges himself in the tradition of southern fiction, where nothing is simple, the land is dusty and mud-caked, and issues of race have been and continue to be ever-present, but this tale is also about how family is what matters most, though sometimes even this may make you pay the highest price.” 


—Steve Cushman, author of Portisville and How Birds Fly 


“In this suspenseful outcry for racial justice, Tim Swink brings shamanism to bear on the old Southern plague of the sins of the fathers staining the generations. Where the Flowers Bloomed offers an ambitious take on the genealogical novel and challenges Thomas Wolfe’s declaration that you can’t go home again. Swink’s cross-cutting technique achieves cinematic impact, as bigotry and bloodletting succumb to reconciliation.” 


—Michael Gaspeny, author of A Postcard from the Delta and The Tyranny of Questions

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5.0 out of 5 stars: Engaging story keeps you reading to unravel the truth Review By WillyReads

This is the story of Thomas Rankin. A story proving that sometimes when you search for “truths”, you find far more than you bargained for.


This story exemplifies that you can flee from your humble, southern roots but you can never escape the family, places and experiences that define you. Even though Thomas sought to flee his past life, he discovered that his roots were deeper than the roots of the daffodils that bloomed in Walt and Daisy’s yard every spring.


Tim Swink has created an incredibly relatable character in Thomas, who through his reminiscences of his family and his upbringing draws you into his life.


From the depths of a pit, Thomas Rankin’s conversations, and his recollections and reflections, with the mysterious “coyote” were a compelling storytelling vehicle.


Was Thomas hallucinating or going mad, or was it something much more? Was there truly a voice emanating from the shadows of the well? As days blurred into nights, it was the nightly conversations with this strange Coyote creature that actually kept him tethered to sanity. But the voice spoke in riddles and fragmented stories. And it spoke of forgotten paths and whispered secrets, challenging Thomas' understanding of reality.


Thomas ultimately learns that it is family that matters the most. But with family there also comes family burdens. Thomas also learns there is always a cost to going home, and he will be left wondering where loyalty actually exists.


Tim’s writing style, choice of characters and unique way of having you look at various situations is the sign of a gifted storyteller. 


This is a suspenseful story that explores social issues and family dynamics in the South.


Is the fabric of life its own inescapable design? And how much control do we have over our own destiny? The way we perceive things and events around us shapes our mind and creates our reality.


Tim Swink is a gifted storyteller who is able to synthesize the complexities of relationships and outcomes in ways that others cannot. I could relate to the Thomas’ struggle to distance himself from his humble, southern roots while also cherishing your roots with parents, siblings and family. It illustrates how the many, sometimes seemingly unimportant, life decisions that we make are integral in determining our future. 


This book and story serve to conclude, and resolve, the storylines from Tim Swink’s previous “Curing Time” novel. Tim presents a compelling in-depth look at the interactions of the different members of the Rankin, Baker and Neal families through layers of time.


Tim Swink shows a powerful sense of connection to this time and this place in history.


Swink masterfully crafts an emotional bridge, allowing us to experience Thomas' emotional journey firsthand. His grief becomes a shared burden, his triumphs feel like a personal victory.


Swink shows an uncanny ability to get inside the mind and the emotions of Thomas Rankin. We see the world through his eyes, brimming with memories that feel as though they could be our own. This isn't just storytelling, it's an invitation into the character's soul. Swink possesses an almost magical empathy, slipping effortlessly into the character's mind and capturing the full spectrum of his emotions.


Swink delivers an insightful and dramatic story with surprises throughout. And the ending has an unexpected twist. You go from expecting what you believe will be the inevitable ending, but come away with something totally different.


“Where The Flowers Bloomed” is a story that keeps the reader engaged throughout. Unanswered questions and hidden secrets simmer beneath the surface, urging you to keep reading to unravel the truth.

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