Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SOUTHERN HEAT by David Burnsworth


by David Burnsworth

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4328-2800-4
Publisher: Five Star/Gale Cengage

An emotionally wounded war veteran finds new purpose in a search for his uncle’s killer.

After former dirt-track racer Brack Pelton lost his wife to cancer, he nearly followed her, first by drinking too much and then by volunteering for suicide missions as a Marine in Afghanistan. Now that he’s home in South Carolina again, with only a dog for company, he’s about to meet his uncle Reggie when he hears shots and finds Reggie bleeding in an alley. As his uncle is dying in his arms, Brack hears him whisper, “Ray...Ray shot me.” This sends Brack on a quest that takes him from Charleston’s most fashionable houses to its seediest shacks. He discovers that, as Reggie’s heir, not only does he own a waterfront dive, a sizable piece of highly desirable property and stashes of money hidden in crab pots, but he also has more friends than he thought. Reggie’s ex-wife Patricia Voyels, who is also the owner of the local news station, and her star reporter, Darcy Wells, as well as the Rev. Thomas Brown and a lawyer who served in Vietnam with Reggie all help Brack pursue a convoluted case of corporate greed and misused federal funds. Although one suspect is far from surprising, Brack isn’t alone when he’s nearly blindsided by the ending of this solid debut.

Burnsworth’s choppy storytelling is even less polished than his hero. But the people and the puzzle keep you reading and wanting more.