October 11, 2012

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Judas Burning

This is a contemporary crime novel with a descendant of Johanna McVay as the protagonist. These three books (including Summer of the Redeemers and Touched)  are tentatively linked through the McVay family line, but in three distinctly different time periods.

Dixon Sinclair arrives in Jexville, Mississippi, the town of her forebears, to find solace, stop drinking, and rebuild her life after her father’s murder. As the new publisher of the weekly newspaper and a second-generation journalist, she’s determined to ignite the political will of the townspeople and expose the corruption of the old guard. She forms an uneasy partnership with Sheriff J.D. Horton, another prodigal son returned hoping to find peace and a sense of fulfillment by keeping his town safe.

Then two teenage girls disappear from a sandbar on the swift-moving Pascagoula River, and fears surface that evil lurks in the depths of the swampland – an evil consumed with rage against betrayal and an insatiable desire for vengeance. Suspicions fall on a mysterious transient, a young man running from a violent past in the Catholic Church of Mexico. Yet J.D. and Dixon discover that many there in Jexville have been betrayed, innocents suffering the sins of the fathers. Now they must find out who is willing to kill for revenge.


Once again Carolyn Haines has written about her native Mississippi and the people who live in that beautiful and mystical state. Things happen and lives are changed in Jexville, far from the “maddening crowd” of Atlanta traffic and Memphis’ Beale Street. The nearby river looks quiet and peaceful, but there are dark and angry currents and ghastly events take place. Two teen age girls disappear, a statue of the Virgin Mary is vandalized, and tension rises even higher when Dixon Sinclair, a journalist who has returned to her old home town, and the local sheriff try to unravel the mysteries. The population of Jexville is not large, but the characters who live there are and the plot will keep the reader on the edge of the page until the very end. After that, perhaps one could sit by the dark and swirling river and sip some sweet tea, but not quietly as this story will be remembered for a long time. –Margaret Ellis on Amazon.com