Tom Willock’s first book, Green River Rising, earned the kind of reviews that are rarely accorded to most so-called literary thrillers. This remarkable debut was hailed for its rich, powerful writing as well as its dramatic, page-turning suspense. The New York Times Book Review called it “beautifully vivid” and “triumphantly realized,” while People called it “as fine a thriller as one could ask for.”
The author’s much-anticipated second novel is as powerful and ambitious as its predecessor. Set in New Orleans and the rural South, it is the story of a chain of cataclysmic events let loose by the murder of Clarence Jefferson, a legendary lawman who has gathered a cache of evidence that could imprison corrupt politicians in five states. His last act, it appears, was to handpick two people as the unlucky heirs of his potentially explosive evidence files. The pair must either dispose of them as fast as they can or—at considerable risk to themselves—deliver the files to the authorities. Lenna Parillaud and Dr. Cicero Grimes, Jefferson’s “beneficiaries,” have never met. Lenna, a millionaire businesswoman, has been racked by grief and rage over the loss of her daughter. Dr. Grimes is a clinically depressed psychiatrist. Though both have burdens enough of their own, they are swept up into this story of Southern violence, passion, and vengeance, the likes of which perhaps only the readers of Willocks’s previous novel can imagine.
Compared by critics to Norman Mailer, James Ellroy, Stephen Hunter, and Andrew Vachss, Willocks offers a unique amalgam of gritty realism and something more—a depth and intensity that is seldom achieved in popular fiction.