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A death in Live Oak
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When the president of a black fraternity is murdered, defense attorney Jack Swyteck navigates a maelstrom of racial uprisings as he investigates the chief suspect, an effort that is further challenged by the case's eerie similarities to a Jim Crow-era lynching. By the New York Times best-selling author of The Pardon. 50,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

When the president of a black fraternity is murdered, defense attorney Jack Swyteck navigates a maelstrom of racial uprisings as he investigates the chief suspect. - (Baker & Taylor)

From the 2017 winner of the Harper Lee Prize for legal fiction comes a powerful and timely story of race, politics, injustice, and murder as shocking and incendiary as today’s headlines.


When the body of Jamal Cousin, president of the pre-eminent black fraternity at the Florida's flagship university, is discovered hogtied in the Stygian water swamps of the Suwanee River Valley, the death sets off a firestorm that threatens to rage out of control when a fellow student, Mark Towson, the president of a prominent white fraternity, is accused of the crime.


Contending with rising political tensions, racial unrest, and a sensational media, Townson’s defense attorney, Jack Swyteck, knows that the stakes could not be higher—inside or outside the old Suwanee County Couthouse.  The evidence against his client, which includes a threatening text message referencing "strange fruit" on the river, seems overwhelming. Then Jack gets a break that could turn the case. Jamal's gruesome murder bears disturbing similarities to another lynching that occurred back in the Jim Crow days of 1944. Are the chilling parallels purely coincidental? With a community in chaos and a young man’s life in jeopardy, Jack will use every resource to find out.


As he navigates each twist and turn of the search, Jack becomes increasingly convinced that his client may himself be the victim of a criminal plan more sinister than the case presented by the state attorney. Risking his own reputation, this principled man who has devoted his life to the law plunges headfirst into the darkest recesses of the South’s past, and its murky present, to uncover answers.


For Jack, it's about the truth. Traversing time, from the days of strict segregation to the present, he’ll find it—no matter what the cost—and bring much-needed justice to Suwanee County.



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Booklist Reviews

In Florida, three white university students are accused of lynching an African American student. There is incriminating evidence: a threatening text that was evidently sent from one boy's phone to the victim's shortly before he was murdered. Jack Swyteck, the Florida defense lawyer who's appeared in a string of successful legal thrillers, is asked by his father, the state's former governor, to take the case of the boy who allegedly sent the text. But Jack isn't sure the boy is as innocent as he claims to be. The latest Swyteck novel is as precisely written as its predecessors. Very little time is wasted with unnecessary verbiage; scenes generally get right to the point, and dialogue usually stays on track. This makes for a streamlined, effectively paced story that carries us through to the finale. Those who favor fast-moving legal thrillers will be fine with this one. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

When the president of a Florida university's top African American fraternity is found hog-tied and drowned in a Suwannee River Valley swamp, his counterpart at a white fraternity is accused of the crime. Defense attorney Jack Swyteck finds uncomfortable parallels to a 1944 lynching and suspects a nasty conspiracy. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

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