The Scribe by Matthew Guinn
Reviewed by Keith McCoy, Somerset County Library System
Originally Submitted to Library Journal
Race, money, power, and scandal: this brew is steaming in Atlanta of 1881. A disgraced detective is brought back to investigate the ritualized murders of two Negro businessmen. Both were prosperous enough to have invested in the upcoming Exposition, which is intended to showcase the city as the forerunner of the New South. Both had letters carved into their foreheads, as did the ambitious prostitute who is murdered the night Thomas Canby returns. The business community wants this solved pronto, but is this a fight within the black community, or something more sinister? Why was the Jewish upstart from Brooklyn framed to take the fall? Canby is teamed with Atlanta’s first African-American patrolman, who also becomes a suspect in the process. The action moves back and forth between the burgeoning city and the villages on the outskirts, ending in a thrilling railroad chase scene, and an assassination attempt on a prominent American.
Verdict: Both exciting and gruesome, The Scribe will appeal to readers who like crime mixed with history, but some may find the ending frantic and inconclusive.
This book will be published in September.