A Strange and Bitter Crop

E. L. Wyrick, Author St. Martin's Press $20.95 (260p) ISBN 978-0-312-11075-8
When a poor, barely literate black teenager named James Cleveland is accused of murdering a white sociology professor and his wife, Tammi Randall, a lawyer with the Teal County, Ga., Legal Aid society, is called to act as his defense. The youth implicates Buddy Crowe, a man who had been involved in a smuggling scheme Tammi had helped uncover years before, suggesting to her that the murders might be more than a robbery gone awry. Surviving an attack by Crowe, Tammi learns that the professor's death is connected to a racial crime committed two decades earlier, one that involves local police and Tammi's new love interest, a wealthy businessman. First-novelist Wyrick picks on some easy targets, particularly Klan members and a gossipy churchgoer, but other characters, like an enormous ex-wrestler named Big Jack, stand out. Although the plot is slow to develop and lacks surprises, Wyrick captures his setting and proves he can write an action scene. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
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