After leaving Atlanta in disgrace three years before, detective Thomas Canby is called back to the city on the eve of Atlanta’s 1881 International Cotton Exposition to partner with Atlanta’s first African American police officer, Cyrus Underwood. The case they’re assigned is chilling: a serial murderer who seems to be violently targeting Atlanta’s wealthiest black entrepreneurs. The killer’s method is both strange and unusually gruesome. On each victim’s mutilated body is inscribed a letter of the alphabet, beginning with “M.” The oligarchy of Atlanta’s most prominent white businessmen—the same men who ran Canby out of town, known more openly before Reconstruction as “the Ring”—is anxious to solve the murders before they lose the money they’ve invested in both the exposition and the city’s industrialization, even if resolution comes at the expense of justice.
After Canby’s arrival the murders become increasingly disturbing and unpredictable, and his interference threatens to send the investigation spinning off in the wrong direction. As the toll of innocent victims rises, Canby must face down enduring racism, and his own prejudices, to see clearly the source of these bloody crimes. Meanwhile, if he can restore his reputation, he might win back the woman he loves.
Goodreads Rating: 3.28/5
My Rating: 3.5/5
Back in 2015, I participated in a Goodreads giveaway for an ARC of this book (you can see in the pictures that my copy is an ARC) and won it.
Once I received the book though, I had so many on the TBR that this one went sliding down and down. Unlike many other things, I believe 2016 was the year for this book for me. I scheduled to read it and picked it up.
I might have read this in less time than I actually did, had I had more time and no work and house chores to do side by side.
There were no pre conceived notions when I began this book because this author was new to me.
As you read this review, please also keep in mind that I read an ARC and things may or may not be a little different in the published book.
The build up to the actual story could have been made better if it would not have been way too detailed. As I sat reading those pages, I wanted the murders to begin already! That was what I wanted to read more of. Even when the author reached that part, there were too many details of everything but the murders which I believe stand as the backbone of this novel. A backbone that was not made strong.
The synopsis mentions the love life of the detective in a way that one feels that it has to be intricately woven into the story but it felt more like a loose end where only at the end this guy realises what was at stake.
Another important aspect of the story was of Blacks being treated as humans. I liked that there was brought a Black man on the force but the motive behind it not so much. I also did not see the man being rewarded according to his performance. This, however, I can still discount as this is a historical fiction and the author had to keep in tune of what was the norm of the time.
The story in itself was gripping and had a few twists when I was sure of what was happening. A one time read for me but I won’t call it a waste of my time.