Morrow, Apr 2008, $24.95
Two decades ago in a courtroom, Nell Jarreau dramatically testified that Alvin "Pirate" DuPree murdered her boyfriend, Johnny Blanton wile she watched in horror. Pregnant with Johnny’s offspring Nell married Clay, the chief detective on the homicide case, while Alvin went to prison.
Twenty years later, due to the devastation of Hurricane Bernadine swamping Belle Ville, FEMA accidentally found tape evidence with a time code on it that affirms Alvin’s alibi that he was at Nappy’s Liquor Store. Nell is stunned as she is positive Alvin killed Johnny yet the evidence is otherwise conclusive. Clay, now the Belle Ville chief of police, cautions his wife to move on, but she is disturbed by her identifying an innocent man. The press has a field day as they dig into the Pirate’s wrongful conviction case while Nell's daughter Norah seems even more negatively affected by the case than her. Guilt laden, Nell needs closure again so she decides to investigate.
This is an entertaining crime thriller as readers wonder who killed Blanton if not Alvin. DuPree is a perfect “victim” as he is a nasty odious person who many in the audience will believe should remain incarcerated even if he did not commit the homicide as he probably did others anyway. Nell is the prime player, but she fails to come across as an amateur sleuth on an emotional quest to solve a cold case murder she witnessed. Still this is an enjoyable tale.