When the body of Jamal Cousin, president of the pre-eminent black fraternity at the Florida's flagship university, is discovered hogtied in the Stygian water swamps of the Suwanee River Valley, the death sets off a firestorm that threatens to rage out of control when a fellow student, Mark Towson, the president of a prominent white fraternity, is accused of the crime.
Contending with rising political tensions, racial unrest, and a sensational media, Townson's defense attorney, Jack Swyteck, knows that the stakes could not be higher - inside or outside the old Suwanee County Couthouse. The evidence against his client, which includes a threatening text message referencing "strange fruit" on the river, seems overwhelming. Then Jack gets a break that could turn the case. Jamal's gruesome murder bears disturbing similarities to another lynching that occurred back in the Jim Crow days of 1944. Are the chilling parallels purely coincidental? With a community in chaos and a young man's life in jeopardy, Jack will use every resource to find out.
As he navigates each twist and turn of the search, Jack becomes increasingly convinced that his client may himself be the victim of a criminal plan more sinister than the case presented by the state attorney. Risking his own reputation, this principled man who has devoted his life to the law plunges headfirst into the darkest recesses of the South's past, and its murky present, to uncover answers.
For Jack, it's about the truth. Traversing time, from the days of strict segregation to the present, he'll find it - no matter what the cost - and bring much-needed justice to Suwanee County.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Charles Atkinson on 22-02-18
Outstanding Courtroom Drama
A horrible lynching occurs in a small Northern Florida town close to Gainesville. The president of a black fraternity is the victim. Racist text messages have been retrieved from the victim‘s phone. The source is the phone of a white student, who happens to be the president of a white fraternity. With no other evidence a rush to judgement occurs without due process.
If it sounds like a current affair, it is on purpose. Rather than condemn one party, the author clearly reveals the travesty of every side’s ignoring due process. Law enforcement, media, civil rights leaders, academia are all guilty of condemning a young man before they understand the truth.
Make no mistake, the novel uncovers racism at every level of life in the community. In fact it makes the mistakes of the black community understandable.
And there is the clever parallel of two excellent students, one black and one white, trapped by predators from to opposite camps. In the end, it is simply great writing and great entertainment.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
By shelley on 19-02-18
Much truth in fiction...
I spent my first 18 years living in Jacksonville, Fl. The story in this book does not surprise me at all, even after 38 years. When I went to school there was segregation, that wasn't working so well. Then they tried integration, that didn't work so well either. If you were black (I wasn't) or Jewish (I was) you had a problem in a city that was very racist and in the good old southern Bible Belt, anti Semitic. I moved north.
I could see this story taking place in Live Oaks, it's barely a speck on a map, very small town. It's the kind of place you drive through and didn't know you were there. Progressive thinking does not come easily in places like that. Unfortunately with out much outside influence, bigotry is generational.
Anyway, I really like some of Grippando's stand alone books and have looked at the Jack Swyteck books many times. The reviews are so mixed I always change my mind. After this book I will be getting the rest of the series.
Jonathan Davis does an excellent job narrating.
Outstanding book with a twisted ending, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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19 of 20 people found this review helpful