Tulia: Race, Cocaine and Corruption in a Small Texas Town
Nate Blakeslee, , read by James Boles. . Audio Evolution/Gildan Media, $49.98 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-59659-095-3
Winner of the 2005 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for excellence in nonfiction and a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award, this 2007 audiobook recounts a racially charged undercover narcotics investigation in the small Texas panhandle town of Tulia. The fallout holds far-reaching implications for strategy and tactics in America's war against illegal drugs. Boles gives the proceedings a down-home flavor in his vocal renderings of Tulia locals without descending into a mocking or patronizing caricature of rural life. Boles's unflinching performance of the trial deliberations—especially the heated exchanges between the defense lawyers and rogue police officer Tom Coleman—creates a palpable air of courtroom drama. The sheer magnitude of the characters—including the three dozen defendants, scores of attorneys, law enforcement officials and community leaders—may at times leave listeners somewhat confounded. Yet the essential threads of the narrative weave a compelling account of the epic struggle for justice and fairness in the day-to-day trenches of an imperfect judicial system.
Reviewed on: 02/26/2007