What You Leave Behind

Morrow. Jun. 2024. 384p. ISBN 9780063322219. pap. $18.99. M
Morris entertains and informs with her latest mystery (following Anywhere You Run). This time, she folds the issue of illegal land grabs into the story of disgraced, divorced Black lawyer Deena, who flees Atlanta and returns to her childhood home in Brunswick, GA. The third gut-punch for Deena is the recent death of her mother and her father’s subsequent marriage to one of her mother’s best friends. Deena is living temporarily with them and working at a local engineering firm, trying to put her life back together. One day while driving around Gullah Geechee country, Deena encounters Holcomb Gardner, who mistakes her for a realtor and runs her off his land at gunpoint, swearing that he’ll never sell. When Deena returns warily to Gardner’s oceanfront property, he’s gone and there’s a For Sale sign posted. Her curiosity piqued, Deena begins investigating. Her search turns up shadowy developers who rip off poor and Black landowners, complicit politicians, and a slew of possible allies and enemies. There are a few too many red herrings and interstitial narratives from a ghostly presence, but Morris brings it all together for a banging finale.
VERDICT With deep characterizations, local lore, and a sympathetic heroine, this is another feather in Morris’s cap.
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