Carolina Skeletons: A Novel Based on the Execution of America's Youngest Murderer

David Stout, Author Mysterious Press $16.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-89296-264-8
When two young white girls are killed in the small South Carolina town of Alcolu in 1944, the hunt for their murderer turns almost immediately to the flimsy shacks that house the ""colored'' mill workers. Based on an actual event, this novel faithfully renders its place and time. The thick Southern heat, and the absolute, unequal balance between whites who mark the social boundary lines and blacks who stay within them in order to survive, make it possible to believe that the few words spoken by Linus Bragg, the scared-silent, 14-year-old black boy who is executed for the crime, could be fatally twisted to mean more than the child who spoke them had ever intended. Forty-four years later, James Willop, an unemployed New Jersey newsman, goes to Alcolu to dig for the truth behind his Uncle Linus's death. He finds the town superficially changed, but when two more murders occur Willop has reason to fear that the same deadly racist tensions running beneath the surface could drag him under as well. Stout, an editor at the New York Times, has produced an accomplished, sadly evocative novel, only slightly marred by loose ends and a somewhat blustery tone in its second half. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-445-40336-9
Ebook - 350 pages - 978-1-4532-3425-9
Paperback - 284 pages - 978-1-4683-0854-9
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