BOOK REVIEW

BLOOD ON THE LEAVES--JEFF STETSON

Professor Martin Matheson held some very unusual classes and lectures for his students.  For instance, on one occasion, he stuck a pushpin through the photo of a black man burned at the stake.  He then pinned an eight-by-ten photo of two grinning white men in their twenties.  Matheson stated that one of the black men was Andrew Reid who was on leave from his second tour in Vietnam.  He and his brother stopped at the local bar for a drink.  The waitress was white.  They smiled at her and she smiled back.  Her husband, Robert, and his brother, Reginald, followed the two black men and at gunpoint drove them to a deserted wooded area.  The Professor then placed the picture of the charred corpse next to another photo of another black man with a noose around his fractured neck.  The killers tortured Reid by making him look at the lynched body of his brother before they burned him at the stake. 

The one thing that really got to the Professor is that the white men who were accused of these crimes were all acquitted.  Then something strange starts to happen.  One by one someone is killing the men who were acquitted.  What really makes it even more bazaar is that the men are being killed in the same manner as their victim - burned to death, hung, etc.

James Reynolds is Mississippi's only black deputy district attorney.  He knows this case is going to be one of the toughest he has ever had to face.  It gets to be even more interesting when he discovers a local university class is exposing the perpetrators of unsolved civil rights murders.

Who is committing the murders of the people who were acquitted?  Is it the professor?  Could it be some of the dedicated students in his class? 

This is Jeff Stetson's first novel.  It really took courage to write this one!  It really brings back the emotions and suffering of the civil rights era.  The author does an excellent job of telling this story.  This novel will surely bring about some intense discussion by those who read it.  You will also find the courtroom scenes very electrifying.  All in all, Jeff Stetson has done a wonderful job with his debut novel.  This one will leave a lasting impression with you!  Add this one to your reading list.

REVIEWED BY NANCY EATON

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, NANCY EATON

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