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Forty Acres: A Thriller Hardcover – July 1, 2014

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476730539
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476730530
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After young attorney Martin Grey trumps celebrity litigator Damon Darrell in a ­multimillion-dollar civil rights suit, Darrell inexplicably welcomes him into his circle of influential African American men. For Martin, acceptance into this circle is the realization of a life’s dream. He’s even invited on their men’s retreat, and Darrell cryptically promises a life-altering experience. But when they arrive at their secret destination, a secluded plantation called Forty Acres, Martin enters a horrific alternate reality. The group’s charismatic leader, Dr. Kasim, promises to free Martin from the legacy of slavery by avenging his ancestors. At Forty Acres, the slaves are captive descendants of plantation owners and slavers, and Martin’s new friends are their masters. Martin has no intention of initiating, but his life and the slaves’ freedom depends on convincing these new masters that he shares their brand of brutality. Like Grisham’s The Firm (1991), Forty Acres pits a sharp legal mind against a deadly conspiracy of elites, and Martin’s survival strategizing builds top-grade suspense. The disturbingly powerful, well-wrought story easily overshadows the few minor improbabilities. Highly recommended for book groups. --Christine Tran


"Forty Acres is an absolutely enthralling thriller, one that also has the capacity to challenge the readers' perceptions of right and wrong. With supreme confidence and a mastery of storytelling, the author asks hard questions, provides no easy answers… But delivers maximum suspense. It’s an unforgettable work by an amazing new voice. Easily my favorite of the year." (John Ridley, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Twelve Years a Slave)

"A thought-provoking novel that, like a wave, builds strength and intensity as it moves forward. Smith has done something special here using as his primary tools earnest, straightforward language and an eye and ear that probes bone-deep. This story will resonate long after the last page has fallen." (David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author of King and Maxwell)

"Wow! FORTY ACRES is a thriller in a class all by itself—brilliant and scary. The characters are masterfully well-drawn—Martin was so vulnerable and his confusion grew on me so that I ultimately cared and worried about him. I was on the edge of my seat!" (Terry McMillan, New York Times bestselling author of Waiting to Exhale and Who Asked You?)

"Top-grade suspense... [A] disturbingly powerful, well-wrought story." (Booklist)

“Bold… Entertaining… Intriguing.” (Publishers Weekly)

“On the surface this is a skillful re-imagining of John Grisham's "The Firm," but because Smith has made race an integral part of his narrative and its themes, he's elevated the book to a more layered read." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

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Customer Reviews

I wanted to read this book again immediately after I read the last page.
Amazing writing, brilliantly developed characters, well researched, and an astounding storyline.
Judith D. Collins
It is a good length book, but not overly drawn out and the climax is well thought through.
Brett H

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Judith D. Collins on July 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover
A special thank you, to Atria Books and NetGalley for a complimentary ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

One word . . EPIC! A "deal with the devil" has never been so evil!

FORTY ACRES was the most intense thriller --thought-provoking, and gripping debut novel (my pulse is still racing) - full of power and revenge. FORTY ACRES has my vote for "Thriller Debut Novel of 2014", a talented author, Dwayne Alexander Smith, has just won me over as a "fan for life."

Amazing writing, brilliantly developed characters, well researched, and an astounding storyline. There is so much depth to this THRILLER, as so want to discuss, debate, and challenge the "what if's" (as I booked marked something from every chapter); however, this is one of those "ONE in a million books" you dare not say a word to spoil, or hint of anything within a review, to give away the suspense for the readers. From controversial issues of race and power, hatred, wealth, love, trust, betrayal, and secrets--it has it all.

Whereas, "Devil's Advocate" raised the preposition that "winning is everything", FORTY ACRES is about "revenge and power." Several similarities -both had smart intuitive wives, devil/master, and both main characters are attorneys who get sucked into a world of mystery, power, and wealth. (Of course, Forty Acres in a "class by itself") A WINNER out of the gate!

FORTY ACRES deserves an unveiling, with no hints of any sort as each and every page is just too BLOODY GOOD. You feel yourself experiencing every setting, footstep, movement and facial expression, trying to predict the next move, with details so realistic, you are holding your breath, as you swish to the next page to see what lies ahead.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By the GreatReads! TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith is a cultural and political suspense thriller with a plot that seems unthinkable, but is yet so believable that the story could be unfolding right before our very eyes. After tasting a major professional success on a small civil rights lawsuit which he had been working on for two years, and which in turn had turned into the biggest case of his career with the client awarded $25.5 million in punitive damages, young and talented African-American lawyer Martin Grey is confident of a windfall in terms of fame and money which would firmly plant him and his friend and partner Glen Grossman in the business. Things look bright and he has no reasons to worry about the future and his chosen career.

Damon Darrell is one of the toughest attorneys and the opposing counsel in the civil rights lawsuit against Autostone Industries. He is the last person one would expect to turn up at the party to celebrate Martin’s success. But when Damon crashed into the party and invited Martin to a dinner party, it provided the opportunity for him to become acquainted with some of the most powerful, wealthy, and esteemed black men in America.

Damon and his friends invite Martin Grey for an exclusive weekend getaway. During the journey he’s drugged so that he knows nothing about its direction and location - a palatial estate deep in the woods that is built like a fortress. Something is wrong at Forty Acres that they had to hide it way out in the middle of nowhere and protect it with a private army. Headed by Dr. Kasim, all the respectable men are members of a secret racist group organization with a sinister design – to establish black supremacy and enslave the whites.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tex Reader on July 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
3.5 of 5 stars –
This is a thought provoking thriller that brings to mind such competing adages as “an eye for an eye…” & “sins of the father…” vs. “two wrongs don’t make a right” and “take the high road”. It poses a question of how do you properly redress the sins of slavery? And what scars still remain? Its a story fueled by a compelling premise seeking racial justice through revenge; and in fact, I gave it an extra ½ star for its audacious premise. After Dr. King’s assassination and riots, a black friend of mine said there would soon be a black uprising; 40 years later Obama was elected President. This novel falls somewhere in between.

Upfront, due to the nature of this novel, I feel I need to identify myself as white, and for me then, what I can say is it did indeed make me think. As such, part of its appeal was to remind me of the continuing, lingering social and personal consequences of racial discrimination, abuse and injustice, and the subsequent struggle and actions people take to try and overcome that.

Dwayne Alexander Smith does a good job laying the groundwork and case for his unique premise, using descriptive language, fairly well drawn characters without too much stereotyping, and a decently paced plot. I like that he included very recent happenings (e.g., the supreme court’s Voting Rights Act ruling, the Zimmerman case) to show that the issue is still with us today. And it’s good that I wasn’t sure how it would end, but ultimately Smith completed the story well.

Without giving anything away, I did feel throughout that it didn’t give enough depth and stretched credibility in terms of plot, characters, choices made and actions taken.
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