By Neely Tucker
This exceptional story takes place in the year 2000, in a place called Frenchman’s Bend; this area is in Washington, D.C. where the Potomac and Anacostia rivers meet.
This is what you would call “open ground,” where D.C. went to get rid of people that needed to be killed. Most murders that took place in The Bend were never solved, but back in history, it was the main site of Washington’s most infamous slave market.
Sullivan ‘Sully’ Carter who was once a war correspondent for “The Paper” is now a reporter at home in D.C. What you would call a guy who loves to have a good time, Sully actually left the war to return home with a very serious case of PTSD. Yet even with this illness and his tragic problem with alcohol, he still seems to be able to solve crimes.
“The Paper” has just learned of the death of Billy Ellison, the twenty-one-year-old son of an African-American family with a long history in the nation’s capital. His father died many years ago but his mother is still on the White House social list. She worked as a very skilled strategist for Shellie Stevens, a powerful attorney who meets with Sully and warns him to stay off the case. Sully, of course, takes her words as nothing more than a challenge, and sets his sights on tying the murder to the pain and anguish of The Bend. He wants to check out the subjects of other recent deaths that have occurred in the horrible area because he has a feeling that a small war is starting up between drug gangs there. When interviews lead him to think Ellison was involved in these crimes, Sully begins chasing down the story in order to reveal the truth to one and all.
A terrific, engrossing read, Tucker has done a fantastic job presenting an intricate work of suspense.