Time's Witness

Michael Malone, Author
Michael Malone, Author Little Brown and Company $0 (537p) ISBN 978-0-316-54480-1
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Malone, who in Handling Sin emerged as one of the most entertaining portraitists of the new South, has penned another leisurely, winning chronicle, this time placing two murder investigations against a backdrop populated with dozens of sharply drawn characters. Narrated by ``Cuddy'' Mangum, the enlightened redneck police chief of Hillston, the novel unfolds as a tale of multilayered injustice. As protesters seek to win a retrial for a black prisoner slated to die for shooting a white cop, the inmate's brother, a local activist, is slain by a drive-by sniper. Mangum's investigation turns up slime under every rock, quickly growing to encompass his own department, white supremacist hate groups and even the race for state governor. It's an intriguing plot, and Malone doesn't rush it; everyone from a drunken hillbilly to an aristocratic daughter of the Confederacy gets a turn in the spotlight. What keeps the tale from seeming aimless, aside from Malone's deft observations and anecdotes, is his hero, as engaging a tour guide through this peripatetic narrative as anyone could ask. (Apr.)
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