Blood Red Summer

Thomas & Mercer: Amazon. (Jess Keeler Thrillers, Bk. 2). May 2024. 445p. ISBN 9781662514562. pap. $16.99. THRILLER
After the success of Jess Keeler’s true crime podcast, a TV crew is eager to work with her—but they’re seeking ratings rather than the truth. Jess wants to work on the case of a sniper who targeted the Black community in Lake Castor, VA, in the summer of 1984. Ricky Lee Patience was arrested for the crimes, but his family claims he’s been falsely imprisoned for 40 years. However, retired sheriffs suggest instead that Jess and team investigate the unsolved murders of bootlegger Jim Fosskey and two other men who were found massacred in Fosskey’s apartment that same bloody summer. Jess soon learns she’s following the footsteps of journalist Hal Broadstreet, who covered both stories, the massacre and the sniper, and accused the police of corruption and cover-up before he was killed. Other violence in the summer of 1984 soon comes up, involving an outlaw motorcycle gang and the arrival of crack cocaine. Broadstreet seems to have been the only one who cared.
VERDICT The intriguing sequel to Something Bad Wrong utilizes dual timelines and three voices that contrast styles of crime coverage in a Southern noir story of violence, corruption, and racism. For fans of true-crime podcasts or S.A. Cosby.
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