Waights Taylor Jr. takes us to Alabama, the deep South, where Joe McGrath and Sam Rucker jointly and separately do detective work. It’s circa 1948, sixteen years before the landmark Civil Rights Act, and racism is the norm. This is not the environment where you’d expect Joe to team up with Sam, an African American, on equal terms, but he does and, it becomes a successful case of the future meeting the past.
Joe’s father, a local attorney, was murdered. It’s a cold case, 24 years old, but not to Joe. He smells a rat and is hot on the trail when he’s warned away by a brick through his mother’s window and later the gruesome murder of an associate in his new detective agency. The storyline begins slowly, but gains momentum by the middle of the book. The hook is in and we eagerly read on.
Along the way, Taylor treats us to an authentic look at Southern culture, using personal detailed knowledge of the environs and effective use of dialect. Even the sentence structure and choice of words takes us back to the 1940s. It’s a period piece that immerses us in a time of segregation long past and hopefully behind us.