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Friday, February 22, 2013
FIVE STARS. "Alex Cross's TRIAL" by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo is an historical fiction novel written by the famous author of crime mysteries and one of his co-authors. It is a departure from his normal works that I must say I thoroughly enjoyed. The characterization of Teddy Roosevelt gave him life in my mind's eye. The tale involves the murder trial of a group of "white raiders" in the deep south. Eudora, Mississippi is the home town of Ben Corbett, who relocated to Washington, DC where he is an attorney with a conscience. He helps defend poor black clients without prejudice, perhaps due to an incident in his youth when a young black boy helped him when his mother was ill. The raw and vicious treatment of blacks in the deep south is portrayed vividly. The Ku Klux Klan are uncovered as just "regular" folks that Ben grew up with as a child. The tension created by his wife's reluctance to support his charity cases, the friction with his previous neighbors and conservative father, and the evil Klan members helps to keep the storyline moving well. The images of hangings and the vicious treatment of innocent black folks will remain with me. Fortunately, most of the hatred towards black people in this country has been extinguished over time. This book reminds us to be on guard against the smoldering prejudice that still may exist in the hearts of some people. Intolerance breeds monsters, and these monsters live in this book.