From Publishers Weekly
A Depression-era land battle in the Florida panhandle forms the gritty backdrop for Wimberly's evocative coming-of-age novel. At its outset, in 1929, an African-American worker named Saint McGrue dies in a lumber-clearing accident. McGrue's son, Spence, is the best friend of youthful (white) narrator Carter Buchanan, whose father, Tink, owns the mill where Saint worked. Tink has been trying to acquire the land of his arch rival Dave Ogilvie, a tobacco grower who is also the preacher in their small rural town. The rivalry turns acrimonious when Tink plots to take control of Ogilvie's mortgage, and the situation worsens when adolescent Carter takes a romantic interest in Ogilvie's daughter, Julia, who leaves town to pursue a teaching career. Wimberly's previous novels (A Rock and a Hard Place; Dead Man's Bay) are mysteries starring detective Barrett Raines. His auspicious foray into more literary territory also turns on secrets that are gradually revealed. Young Carter is suspended within a web of conflicting loyalties to Tink, to Ogilvie and to Spence. Violence in the community and revelations about Saint McGrue's death add complications and increase suspense. The racial politics of the era take on greater importance, highlighted by local elections and a murder. Wimberly's grasp of storytelling is admirable, as Carter faces a series of moral conflicts, eventually comes to understand the tragic secret his father holds and accepts his own part in the painful past. Agent, Andrew Pope. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Mystery writer Wimberley, author of A Rock
and a Hard Place (1999) and Dead Man's Bay
(2000), changes genres and publishers, but this story of family loyalty and betrayal also has plenty of action and violence. Tink Buchanan is a hard man, his character forged by childhood deprivation and a lifetime of labor, and he's obsessed with getting back land once in his family but now owned by neighbor Dave Ogilvie. Tink enlists his son, Carter, to help in the quest for the land, but complications arise when Carter, pulled out of college, falls in love with Ogilvie's daughter, Julia. Set in rural northwest Florida in the mid-twentieth century, this seems like a story from earlier times, with its frontier justice, racial hatred, and paucity of modern conveniences. Wimberley intersperses scenes of brutality and murder with a little lovemaking and vivid descriptions of logging and raising tobacco, and his story moves at a good pace, with only regrets at the close. Michele LeberCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved