The Devil Amongst the Lawyers

Sharyn McCrumb, Author St. Martin’s 24.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-55816-1
In 1935, the case of an Appalachian schoolteacher arrested for murdering her father becomes a national news story, seized on by the press for its sensationalism and the opportunity to mock the rural inhabitants involved. Competing with a brigade of city journalists is novice Tennessee newspaperman Carl Jenkins, whose obsession with the truth leads him to call in his cousin Nora, gifted with second sight—but what, exactly, can he report with no concrete evidence? The latest in McCrumb’s Appalachian Ballad series (after 2003’s Ghost Riders) is decidedly mixed; McCrumb’s grasp of setting and character instantly immerses readers in the worlds of both the sympathetic locals and the cynical city press. Her plot, part mystery and part cautionary tale, is passable, but leaves nothing for readers to work out on their own. Dialogue, which stretches for authentic, often feels awkward and stilted; though fans will be familiar with the style, new readers will likely be frustrated. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/26/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
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