St. Martin's, Aug 2008, $24.95
Chicago reporter Randall Wilkes was at the top of the world when he was fired by the newspaper editor. He slinks back disgraced to his hometown of Pilgrim’s Rest, Tennessee, but stops on the way in Nashville where he is given an opportunity to write the biography of the former governor Sonny McMahan; Randall and Sonny were his childhood friends.
However, only a few hours after Randall reaches his hometown, Sonny’s elderly mom is found dead hanging from a bridge; her youthful care-provider is also brutally murdered. Shockingly at about the same time, Sonny’s no-good late father reappears from the dead. When the remains of Randall’s first lover are found after years of burial, the journalist decides to use his investigating skills and dig into murders cold and hot.
This is a strong regional investigative tale as the hero must separate what he recalls nostalgically from what he knows as fact. The story line is driven by the determined Randall who after two decades in the big city must readapt to small-town rural sensitivities. Readers will appreciate his efforts as friendships, family, and his reminiscing interfere with his inquiry.