Scorched Earth

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Random House Publishing Group, Dec 16, 2009 - Fiction - 352 pages
3 Reviews
From David L. Robbins, bestselling author of The End of War and War of the Rats, comes a novel of searing intensity and uncompromising vision. Part mystery, part legal thriller, it is a story of crime and punishment set in a small southern town during one brutal, hot, and unforgiving summer that lays bare the potential of the human heart to hate–and, ultimately, to heal.

Scorched Earth

The inhabitants of Good Hope, Virginia, haven’t felt the cooling effects of rain in weeks. The crops are withering. The ground is parched. There is no relief in sight. With the town a tinderbox waiting to explode, all it takes is a spark to ignite all the prejudice, the rage, and the secrets that are so carefully kept hidden. And then, in the midst of the terrible heat, a tragedy occurs. A baby is born and dies in her mother’s arms. The child, Nora Carol, is buried quickly and quietly the next day in a church graveyard. It should have ended right there–but it didn’t, for Nora Carol is of mixed race.

The white deacons of Good Hope’s Victory Baptist Church, trying to protect the centuries-old traditions of their cemetery, have the body exhumed. That night the church is set ablaze, and the sole witness is the only suspect–Elijah Waddell, Nora Carol’s father.

Nat Deeds, a former prosecutor and an exile of Good Hope, is pressed into service as Elijah’s attorney. With a politically savvy prosecutor and a vindictive sheriff aligned against him, Nat knows it will be nearly impossible to get Elijah acquitted. But Elijah refuses to accept a plea.

As the evidence mounts, Nat begins to suspect there is something his client isn’t telling him, and the next revelation turns Good Hope into a powder keg: a body is found in the ashes of the church. Now Elijah is accused of murder, and the case is no longer a matter of winning or losing, but of life or death.

The only way Nat can save his client is to scratch and claw for any shred of evidence, even if he has to bend the law to find it. As the summer heat intensifies and passions reach their boiling point, Nat must navigate through the incendiary secrets kept by friends and neighbors, by the guilty and the innocent, to an act of justice that has nothing to do with the law.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Miccosukee - LibraryThing

I greatly admire this book. Robbins transcends the mystery genre with language as sweet and rich as a mint julep on a starry night. A child is born to a black man and a white women in a small Virginia ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - brainella - LibraryThing

What starts as a mystery about a church arson becomes an analysis of small town racial divides and deep seated anger and bigotry. The death of a newborn baby leads to a church burning and ultimately ... Read full review

Contents

Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 17
Section 18
Section 19
Section 20
Section 21
Section 22
Section 23
Section 24

Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 25
Section 26
Section 27
Section 28
Section 29
Section 30
Section 31
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

David L. Robbins is the author of War of the Rats, The End of War, and Souls to Keep. He is a former attorney and a freelance writer who lives in Richmond, Virginia.


From the Hardcover edition.

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