I have found that books tend to follow trends. One year I read more WWI and II books than I should have. The last couple of years the ’50ies have been a popular era to revisit. Between the Lies by Cynthia A. Graham is the third book in a series that takes the reader to a small town in Arkansas dealing with post war issues like desegregation and the changing world. I thank TLC Book Tours for sending me a copy at no charge for my honest review.
About Between the Lies:
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Blank Slate Press (March 27, 2018)
When the corrupt sheriff of Broken Creek, Arkansas detains a young black boy on charges of accidental homicide, his sister asks Hick Blackburn, Sheriff of Cherokee Crossing, to investigate. Hick is reluctant at first. Not only is Broken Creek out of his jurisdiction, but Hick and Sheriff Brewster have a history, and Hick knows Brewster won’t look kindly on his interference. But Hick quickly realizes the boy couldn’t have committed the crime. With the aid of a New York attorney trying to make a name for herself and a shy new deputy who knows the boy’s family, Hick uncovers a conspiracy that goes to the heart of local corruption, nepotism, and racism. But while Hick is working to free an innocent child in Broken Creek, his beloved Maggie, pregnant with their third child, faces challenges of her own back home. This time, will Hick’s dedication to justice extract too high a price?
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About the Author:
Cynthia A. Graham was born in St. Louis, Missouri. As a child she spent every weekend and vacation in the cotton belt of Missouri where she grew to love the mystery and beauty of the stark, Delta Plain. Cynthia graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Missouri – St. Louis with a B.A. in English. She has won several awards for her short stories and has been published in a number of anthologies. Between the Lies follows the first two books in her historical mystery series featuring Sheriff Hick Blackburn, Beneath Still Water and Behind Every Door, which both won IPPY and MIPA awards.
Connect with Cynthia
I did not realize that this book was the third in a series. Truth be told I did not know this until after I had finished the book – that shows you just how well it stands alone. I do remember thinking while reading it that I’d like to read more books featuring the protagonist so maybe my subconscious knew? I suppose that also lets you know that I really enjoyed the book.
Perhaps enjoyed is the wrong word. It’s always hard with books that tackle difficult topics to call the reading experience enjoyment. It was definitely thought provoking and the issues brought up involving race are certainly still, to some degree under discussion today. Despite the whole Civil Rights Act and our supposed enlightenment people of color are still being treated as second class citizens.
But off of my soapbox and back to the book. Ms. Graham has a deceptively simple writing style – it is brilliant in its simplicity. She provides only the words that are needed without any flowery extras. Often a mood in a book is ruined when an author tries too hard – that doesn’t happen here. The perfect atmosphere is there for whatever is happening whether the hero is trying to let his wife know he loves her but just doesn’t have the words or the young black boy unjustly imprisoned just goes with the flow.
What you are reading is a tale of good versus evil in the form of two men – sheriffs from neighboring towns. Evil comes in the form of Sheriff Brewster, a man who controls his town by intimidation and blackmail. Good is the hero, Hick Blackburn, a family man returned from the war with memories he can’t shake. They have tangled before and Hick knows the lengths Brewster will go to in order to protect his fiefdom.
The hows and the whys of Brewster’s need and obsession to pin the hit and run on the young black boy are the drivers of the plot. Hick is determined to prove that the young boy is not the killer but forces are against him as Brewster riles up the town against anyone who is not white. It all comes to a head with a visit of a gubernatorial candidate. Will Brewster be able to prove the young boy’s innocence before a mob decides to provide some “local” justice?
I read this book on a car ride and I hardly felt time passing. The writing kept me engaged and the characters were unique and the kind you might want to meet – except for Sheriff Brewster of course. As I noted above I am very much looking forward to the next installment in the series. Ms. Graham is going to be another on the very small list of authors I will read even though they write murder mystery type novels.
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