Between The Lies by Cynthia A. Graham Blog Tour Stop
Though this book is the third in a series written by Graham, it read fine as a stand alone. At a brief 248 pages, the author wastes no time getting right to the heart of the mystery -- an unidentified man is dead and the Sheriff has arrested 12 year old Thad for the crime. It quickly becomes apparent that something sinister is at play -- the dead man is white and young Thad is an African American who can't even reach the gas pedal of the truck that he is accused of driving when he ran over the victim. The setting is 1950's Arkansas and desegregation laws are being placed in to effect all over America. Tensions are running high in the small town of Broken Creek and many people live in fear of the corrupt Sheriff who doles out his own type of justice and seems to have every official in his pocket.
Enter Hickory Blackburn, the Sheriff of the neighboring town of Cherokee Crossing, who is asked to look in to the case by Thad's older sister. Though the crime occurred outside of his jurisdiction, Hickory refuses to accept that Thad will be indicted for a murder he did not commit. What follows is a cat and mouse game of good cop vs bad cop and a race to uncover the truth before a horrible injustice is committed. This was a quick read and I was pleasantly surprised by it. Graham's depiction of a small southern town was well executed and the racial tensions felt by all involved were palpable. What really struck a nerve with me about this book was that even though it was set in the 1950's, it could easily be a headline that we would find on the news today. I will say that I was caught totally off guard by the ending and was not prepared for that plot twist.
If you like your Southern fiction with a bit of police procedure and grit then this is the book for you. I do want to say please proceed with caution when reading due to the use of a racial slur and descriptions of racial violence. Thank you TLC Book Tours and Blank Slate Press for providing this complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. 3.5 stars.