The Pequod Review:
The Lime Twig is more style than substance — a mediocre narrative written in extraordinary prose — but John Hawkes's style works well enough. The plot is something of a British version of a Jim Thompson crime novel, as a lower-class English couple’s ennui leads them to steal a race horse and commit various other crimes. Like Thompson’s books, The Lime Twig has a strong sense of place (in this case, postwar Britain), with the surreal and nightmarish set against the familiar:
It is dark in Highland Green, dark in this public stable which lies so close to the tanks and towers of the gasworks that a man, if he wished, might call out to the old watchman there. Dark at 3 A.M. and quiet; no one tends the stables at night and only a few spiritless horses for hire are drowsing in a few of the endless stalls. Hardly used now, dead at night, with stray dogs and little starved birds making use of the stalls, and weeds choking the yard. Refuse fills the well, there is a dry petrol pump near a loft building intended for hay.
And this is a masterpiece of noir imagery:
His throat was womanly white and fiercely slit and the blood poured out. It was coming down over the collar bone, and above the wound the face was drained and slick with its covering of steam. One hand clutched the belly as if they had attacked him there and not in the neck at all.