From Publishers Weekly
Two lesser characters from Yale law professor Carter's bestselling first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park
(2002)—husband and wife Lemaster and Julia Carlyle—take center stage in his second, a compelling, literate page-turner that effortlessly blends a gripping whodunit with complex discussions of politics and race in contemporary America. Lemaster, one of the country's most influential African-Americans, has recently begun his tenure as president of a prestigious New England university. As he and Julia, who serves as a dean in the university's divinity school, drive home one snowy night, they happen upon the corpse of Professor Kellen Zant, a brilliant economist as well as Julia's former lover. The murder threatens to shatter not only the Carlyles' marriage but also the fragile psyche of their precocious but troubled daughter, Vanessa—and may affect the upcoming, bitterly contested race for the White House. Julia proves an unlikely but dogged investigator, who looks beyond the official verdict that Zant was killed in a chance encounter with a robber. In the richness of his characters, both major and minor, and the intelligence of his writing, Carter rivals Scott Turow. Expect another bestseller. 300,000 first printing; author tour. (July)
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Featuring the setting and two minor characters from his best-selling debut novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park
, Stephen L. Carter has crafted a literary thriller peppered with shrewd observations about wealth, power, race, culture, and politics. Several critics were disappointed with the murder mystery, citing a melodramatic plot with too many characters. However, the Washington Post
declared, "Let's be honest: No one should read a Carter novel for the mystery." Indeed, Carter's astute dissection of the upper-class black milieu and his scathing portrait of the subtly racist community surrounding the university shine brightest, offering a compelling exploration of ethics and power. Fans of his first novel will certainly welcome his second.Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.