Nothing More Dangerous

Mulholland: Little, Brown. Nov. 2019. 304p. ISBN 9780316509725. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316509749. M. M
In 1976, Boady Sanden is 15 when African American bookkeeper Lida Poe goes missing from Jessup, MO. Lida worked at Ryke Manufacturing, the largest employer in Jessup. When she disappeared, so did a large sum of money. White teen Boady is more concerned with surviving his first year of high school. A trio of seniors, led by Jarvis Halcomb, plan to pick on the only black girl in school, but Boady trips them up. The Halcombs don’t forget, so when Boady befriends Thomas, the son of his new black neighbors, both boys become targets. In a summer of terror, a small group of men from the CORPS (Crusaders of Racial Purity and Strength), led by the Halcombs, set their sights on the families on Boady’s country road.
VERDICT This powerful, unforgettable crime novel is a coming-of-age book to rival some of the best, such as William Kent Krueger’s Ordinary Grace or Larry Watson’s Montana 1948. While Eskens’s books are not part of a series, his readers will recognize Boady as an adult character in two of his earlier books, including the award-winning The Life We Bury. This timely stand-alone is a must-read for followers of the best in crime fiction.
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