Well of Rage: Murder in Mobile – Lynne Hesse

In 1974, a black high school football player in a recently desegregated school in Mobile Alabama went missing. It’s now March 2000. J.C. Grey is stuck with the task of training (and, read between the lines, making her want to quit or forcing her out) rookie officer Carly Redmund. He’s unhappy with the assignment but he is carrying it out in his mean spirited way when bones and a high school ring are found in a well on land that used to belong to the Deeter family. J.C. and Carly arrive as the assistant coroner Tim Price is examining the scene. A “junior” reporter from the local paper, hoping to advance, is also at the scene: Marci Eplund. A local white militia, some well-to-do power brokers, officials in various positions and a smattering of law enforcement officers retired and still active are making sure no one looks too closely at the bones in the well. But, Carly, Tim and Marci are not locals, are smart and care about doing the right thing. This is an outstanding read. Hesse captures a wide variety of perspectives on racial issues and the ongoing clashes between preserving the old ways and dealing with people, both local and outsiders, who are ready to push back. The characters are well drawn and generally multi-dimensional. Just about everyone in Well of Rage is under enormous pressure and so make choices and take actions that range from moral to nuanced to out and out evil. Hesse keeps it interesting the whole time, provides all the information we need, scares us at times and ties each loose end up in a big bow. You care about the heroes and root against the villains, but you understand them all. I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway but Hesse will get royalties from me for sure. Fabulous writer.

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