cover image Time’s Undoing

Time’s Undoing

Cheryl A. Head. Dutton, $27 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-47182-1

A Black journalist investigates an ancestor’s murder in the meandering latest from Head (Charlene Mack Motown Series). In 2019, Meghan McKenzie, 28, covers the Black Lives Matter movement for the Detroit Free Press and convinces her editor to send her to Birmingham, Ala., to look into her great-grandfather Robert Harrington’s 1929 death, following up on a family legend that he was killed by a cop. With the help of white librarian Kristen Gleason, smooth city official Darius Curren, and BLM leader Monique Hendricks, Meghan makes inroads with older Black residents who provide information and direction for her search. But her research into a crooked cop who was also murdered soon draws suspicion from locals, who attempt to threaten her into silence. As Meghan continues her quest and entertains her attraction to Darius, flashbacks fill in Robert’s life as a carpenter who is begrudgingly respected by white folks and whose flashy car and unwillingness to be meek draws the wrong kind of attention. Eventually, the leisurely pacing of Meghan’s investigation gives way to a hasty conspiracy-riddled final act. Though imperfect, the author’s meticulous tracing of racism’s legacies will intrigue historical fiction fans. Agent: Lori Galvin, Aevitas Creative Management. (Feb.)