Suppose you're a veteran reporter and no stranger to violence and you've come across a murder in the most dangerous section of a dangerous city. Why would yet another murder of yet another young black man in Frenchman's Bend catch your attention? Journalist Sully Carter wonders why no one seems to want to solve the crime, especially given that the victim is in fact not a homeless druggie but the only son of a rich and powerful Washington, D.C. family.
Sully Carter had a pleasant little bourbon buzz going. It was a fine afternoon in the first spring of the twenty-first century. He'd been out on a fast boat in the Washington Channel, taking in the sunshine and the brisk spring breeze and the view of the dead body being pulled from the water. It was all pretty cool and mellow until he decided to go over to Frenchman's Bend and see if that's where the guy got popped.—Murder, D.C. by Neely Tucker (Penguin Random House / Viking Books, 2015, p. 1)
- Setting: Washington, D.C., modern times
- Circumstances: Sully Carter, stuck Stateside after a major run-in with a hand grenade in Bosnia, is looking for a story that will help him regain some self-respect. What looks to be a basic drug-related murder quickly hints at political and racial origins. Sully is stopped at every turn, but is determined to find his way through the maze of facts and rumors.
- Characters: Sully, a war-zone reporter now on the crime beat; Alexis, a war-zone photographer and Sully's casual love interest and professional colleague; William (Billy) Sanders Ellison, the 21-year-old victim; Ellison's mother; various lawyers and politicians; various police officers and detectives; various newspaper people
- Genre: murder mystery; journalist's perspective
- Themes: race, class, PTSS, murder, politics
- What I think so far: Sully is a great character; I like his NOLA/Cajun background and his wise-cracking way of speaking. The oddness of the victim's family situation is intriguing. I like the scenes in the newspaper office. The writing is colorful and descriptive, and the city itself is plays a huge role in the novel.
- Things to know: This book is the second in a series (the first is The Ways of the Dead), but I haven't felt lost at all. Like his protagonist, the author was a foreign correspondent who is now on staff at the Washington Post, and his real-life background brings an authenticity to Sully's character and to the setting.
- Bonus teaser: Alexis wants to know why Sully isn't on tap for an immediate return to an overseas assignment:
". . . I don't get to go back to another posting just because I want to. I'd have to convince them."The Giveaway
"Why would they need convincing?"
"Word is I got a drinking and attitude problem."
"This is new?"
"They seem to be taking it hard." (p. 29)
Thanks to Viking Books, I can offer one of my readers with a U.S. mailing address not only a copy of Neely Tucker's Murder, D.C. but also a paperback copy of his first Sully book, The Ways of the Dead. That's right, one of my readers will win two Sully books by Tucker. All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is to have a U.S. mailing address and to fill out the form. I'll pick a winner via random number generator on July 30. Once the winner has been confirmed, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck!