A LEGACY OF VENGEANCE by John Armistead

A LEGACY OF VENGEANCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Who would want to kill old Klansmen?"" wonders Sheriff Grover Bramlett, of Chakchiuma County, after somebody has shotgunned three locals -- a preacher/house painter, a womanizing lawyer, and an inoffensive mechanic -- and, just for variety, killed a fourth, an insurance salesman who had begged for police protection, with an automatic. The only clues: the presence of a spectral white 1965 Pontiac Grand Prix; repeated threatening references to ""Leavenworth""; and the knowledge that all four victims were members of the KKK a generation ago. The 1967 murder of Jess Ritter, a Grand Cyclops convicted of civil rights violations (e.g., killing black people) and killed himself in prison by an angry crowd of black inmates, offers a possible common thread linking the victims; but in that case, why has the killer gone on to execute small-time black crook Modell Emerson, who did time in Leavenworth alongside Ritter? Before Bramlett can answer this question, he'll find himself, for all his righteous anti-Klan indignation, on the killer's list as well. Despite some effectively intense extended-family Mississippi atmosphere, the individual characters are colorless, and complications arrive far too late to breathe life into this earnest debut.

Pub Date: July 15th, 1994
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Carroll & Graf