Mark Ethridge, Author . New South $27.95 (278p) ISBN 978-1-58838-192-7

Pulitzer Prize–winner Ethridge puts his experience as a reporter for the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer to good use in his first novel, which focuses on the efforts of his autobiographical hero to uncover the truth behind an unsolved murder. Matt Harper, a reporter for the Charlotte (N.C.) Times whose beat includes handling obituaries and the few stories of interest that crop up during the night shift, gets a break when his editor, Walker Burns, unwittingly gives him a shot at a major scoop. Bradford Hall, a well-to-do Yankee who now lives on his family's South Carolina plantation and respects the Times ' reputation "for being concerned about justice," walks into the newspaper's offices one day to report that he's recently learned of a terrible crime—nearly 20 years earlier a 13-year-old black boy was shot in the head with a deer rifle in a tiny town near the plantation, and his killer was never found. Harper pushes Burns to allow him to investigate, and soon learns that the authorities at the time did virtually nothing. While Ethridge writes well, mystery fans may be disappointed by the predictable plot and an unsurprising solution. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
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