cover image That Bright Land

That Bright Land

Terry Roberts. Turner, $17.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-630269-75-3

Early in this gripping whodunit set in the summer of 1866 from Roberts (A Short Time to Stay Here), Zeb Vance, the real-life governor of North Carolina, meets with his Yankee nephew, Jacob Ballard, a former Union soldier and retired detective who now works for the War Department in Washington City. Someone is murdering North Carolinians who fought for the North during the Civil War, and Vance wants Ballard to apprehend the killer. Ballard travels to mountainous western North Carolina, many of whose residents were hostile to the Confederacy. There he presents himself as a government agent checking on the legitimacy of Union army veterans’ disability benefit claims. Ballard finds some correspondence between the list of those seeking the payments and the names of the murder victims—and support for Vance’s notion that the motive for the crimes is connected with an 1863 Confederate massacre of Union sympathizers. This historical approaches the high standard of Owen Parry’s mysteries set during the same period. [em]Agent: Emma Sweeney, Emma Sweeney Agency. (June) [/em]