Email this review


Morgan (The Assemblers, 1986, etc.) brings back mixed-blood, Choctaw orphan Tom Freshour from 1994’s The Whipping Boy and places him as a 45-year-old prosecuting attorney on the Arkansas-Oklahoma border in 1935. A box of wax cylinders is discovered in the modern era, holding Tom Freshour’s Dictaphone recordings that tell of a set of crimes that took place in 1935 but which can’t be revealed during Freshour’s lifetime. When multimillionaire recluse Lee Guessner is found murdered in his truck, Lorraine —Rainy— Davis, a widow, returns to Fort Smith as the millionaire’s dazed inheritor. As it happens, Rainy and Guessner were on an archaeological dig together in the Peten Jungle in Guatemala, where Guessner took a liking to Rainy and talked fervently about artifacts back in Oklahoma’s Spiro Mound. He was, she says, a flaming gay and bored her stiff. Though Guessner had no relatives or friends, the reason for Rainy’s inheritance seems a total mystery. Because of certain territorial considerations, Judge Manny Stone assigns the murder investigation to Freshour, who discovers that Rainy is the daughter of Samantha King, the mysterious and alluring older woman he’d been ecstatically in love with when he was 15. Why isn’t Sheriff Kenny Seabolt in charge of the investigation? The judge’s reasons revolve partly around the pre-Colombian artifacts found (or, rather, bought) by Guessner at the Spiro Mound. The Mound houses an Indian temple where diggers find a feathered cape that seems strangely brilliant for having been buried perhaps 900 years. Has the mound been salted? Or might there be a more historical explanation for these artifacts from Central American tribes? Then a man dies in a car explosion, and many members of an Indian tribe die of arsenic poisoning. Can these be the deeds of greedy oilmen? Morgan’s best yet, spiced with sex and an emphasis on the lore of artifacts to balance the skullduggery.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1998
ISBN: 1-878448-84-6
Page count: 238pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1998


FictionTHE WHIPPING BOY by Speer Morgan
by Speer Morgan
NonfictionFOR OUR BELOVED COUNTRY by Speer Morgan
by Speer Morgan