The Lightning Rule

The Lightning Rule

Brett Ellen Block

Brett Ellen Block

They say lightning never strikes the same spot twice. Detective Martin Emmett is about to prove the exception to the rule. It is the summer of 1967 and a heat wave is bringing Newark, New Jersey's simmering racial tensions to a boiling point. Banished to desk duty, his career on the line, Emmett is offered a chance at professional redemption if he can quickly and quietly solve the murder of a black teenage boy whose mutilated body has been found in a subway tunnel. But Emmett discovers that the teen is a victim of a sadistic predator who abducts boys to use as prey in a twisted game of cat and mouse. While the riots engulf Newark, crippling the city with chaos, Emmett must track down the killer before the next hunt begins.From Publishers WeeklyA flawless historical backdrop underpins Block's second novel (after 2004's The Grave of God's Daughter) about a rookie Newark, N.J., homicide cop, Martin Emmett. Mistrusted by his superiors and unable to solve the first murder case assigned to him, Emmett has been shunted off to man the records room. On the eve of the 1960s riots, Emmett is handed a second case—a make or break opportunity. Emmett quickly gets an inkling that the murder of a healthy young black man, mutilated and dumped in a sewage tunnel, may not be an isolated killing, but hard evidence is lacking. Corrupt cops, mobsters, racists (white and black) and the riots complicate his investigation. Block's serial killer, whose exploits are described episodically, stretches credulity, as do some of her minor characters, particularly an engaging juvenile suspect who at times acts too adult for his years. Still, Block dramatically depicts the attitudes and the economic and social forces that created the tinderbox that was Newark, the match that lit the fuse and the resulting firestorm. (Nov.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From BooklistBlock's evocative third offering (after The Grave of God's Daughter, 2004) is set in late 1960s Newark, New Jersey, where the real-life arrest and subsequent beating of a black cab driver launched days of deadly race riots. As the novel opens, Martin Emmett, a white detective in the city's predominantly black Central Ward, has been relegated to desk duty for protecting the identity of a critical witness. Emmett, who abandoned his pursuit of the priesthood to become a cop, already has plenty on his plate: he's caring for his brother, Edward, wheelchair bound and bitter after serving in the Vietnam War. The detective sees a chance for professional redemption when his sergeant quietly assigns him the case of a young black teenager found dead in a subway tunnel. The murder, it turns out, is no isolated incident, but part of a racist predator's carefully orchestrated plan. The mystery angle here pales in comparison to Block's vivid portrayal of a city where racial tensions have escalated from a steady simmer to a raging boil. Allison BlockCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The Grave of God's Daughter

The Grave of God's Daughter

Brett Ellen Block

Brett Ellen Block

Brett Ellen Block's unforgettable debut novel, The Grave of God's Daughter, is a haunting story of lost innocence, transgression, faith, and forgiveness set against the stark canvas of a struggling mill town. At the funeral of her estranged mother, a woman is faced with the past she has tried to put behind her only to find that what transpired in her childhood has never been further away than her own shadow, and now the choice to close the thirty-year rift between mother and daughter has been laid before her. The year is 1941. Rooted in the lonely outreaches of the Allegheny Mountains is the town of Hyde Bend. Its heart was a steel mill; its bones are the tight community of Polish immigrants who inhabit it; and its blood, their fierce Catholic faith. But buried in the town's soul is a dangerous secret surrounding the death of a revered priest. When a young girl from the town's poorest quarter accidentally unearths a sliver of the truth surrounding the illicit secret, a woman is found dead and Hyde Bend erupts in fear and finger-pointing. Compelled to unravel the intertwining mysteries, the young girl discovers her own family at the center. To save them and herself, she must confront everything she thought she knew, including her feelings about all she holds sacred. Vivid, evocative, and psychologically penetrating, The Grave of God's Daughter captures the hidden inner life of a town battling to survive in a rapidly changing world, and paints an extraordinary portrait of a young girl's fierce longing for grace. The result is a novel of transcendent beauty that no reader will soon forget.
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