A review by Gloria Feit
Whether this novel is a mystery, or a story about two men, or a tale
about the Deep South, it is a riveting look into the characters, their
development and their environment. Larry and Silas, one white and the
other black, were boyhood friends for a short time in Rural
Mississippi more than a quarter of a century before (where children
were taught to spell the name of the State and river: M, I crooked
letter, crooked letter, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I humpback,
humpback, I,). They are tied together by more than just an apparent
crime that changes both their lives.
Larry is a shunned outcast in the town as the result of the
disappearance, and presumed murder, of a girl with whom he supposedly
had a date as a teenager. Silas moved to Chicago with his mother, but
returns to the small rural town, eventually serving as its only
constable. Now their lives intertwine again as Larry falls under
suspicion when the daughter of the town’s leading citizen disappears.
The situation makes Silas face the past, something he’d rather avoid.
As a mystery, the novel is intriguing. As a description of life in a
small Southern town, it is vivid. As a tale of racial conflict, it is
mesmerizing. The complex analyses of the characters, their
motivations and actions are profound, and it is highly recommended.