Book Jacket

 

rank 2006
word count 13142
date submitted 31.08.2009
date updated 25.11.2009
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Gay, Crime
classification: universal
incomplete

High Cotton

Stuart Phillips

In rural Mississippi, can a gay black man get a fair trial when he's accused of molesting a child? Does it even matter?

 

Deep in the Delta, a gay black man is accused of molesting a young child. High Cotton follows Will Luckman, the young lawyer saddled with defending him as he confronts the nexus of racism, and homophobia, in the town and in himself. Along the way, he begins to believe that his client is a rarity - an innocent man. But, is that enough?

Complete at 100,000 words.

 
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tags

betrayal, black, child, civil rights, crime, delta, discrimination, emotional abuse, father, gay, homosexual, lawyer, legal thriller, mississippi, mys...

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251 comments

 

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writingwildly wrote 1592 days ago

There are a lot of great books on here. Some are poetic, some are almost educational, some are funny and a great many are introspective. There are also crime stories. They have the basics: the crime, the cop(s), the perp(s), etc. Yours is so much more. This is a fully polished, excellent novel, one that will be snapped up fast, I'm sure. I'd buy this today if I could. Your action and dialogue flow without effort, the thoughts that inhabit Will's mind are those of a real live person, with all of his righteousness and his imperfections. I am completely sold on this great book and wish you all the best.
- Genevieve
Under The Same Sky

Philip Crippen wrote 1621 days ago

High Cotton

Dear Stuart,

At first I thought that this was going to be a run of the mill lawyer story, a contemporary Atticus Finch. But as I continued to read, your narrative began to come through, and any preconceived thoughts that I held were washed away.

Keenly descriptive, and well executed use of Free and Indirect Discourse have given the reader a rich landscape of the locale, and mainly of Will and the other important characters. I like how you explain through incidental dialogue (as well as your narrative) the daily grind that is lawyering.

I already shelved this, but just now commenting.

Excellent work, and good luck!

~Phil
"Emerluvly"

(I assume that the prologue is combined with chapter one so that you can keep your chaptering square?)

BL Phillips wrote 1629 days ago

High Cotton-

I haven't been here very long but I have read quite a few books and I can honestly say that none have even come close to the calibur of this novel. Even to say it reads as if it's published is an understatement--many published books aren't this well written. The subject matter--child abuse--is strong in itself but you weave in the southern lawyers and the lifestyles of everyone involved with such grit and so much realism that what you've created becomes almost cinematic. I can SEE these people. I can HEAR these people. I am part of this story.

Nothing further, your Honor, I rest my case. Good job. -Brad

Wye wrote 1281 days ago

I dont want to dwell on the similarity of to Kill a Mocking Bird as thats all it is a similarity. Will Luckman is a well crafted charachter who is being dunked in without much of a life rope. More used to working with burgulars and thieves he is unprepaied for the challenge before him. I think you have done a damn good job on this, its going all the way.
Amelia Gail
A Date in The Diary

Wilma1 wrote 1290 days ago

Wow an amazing start you draw the reader straight in and we grit our teeth hoping that we are not going to hear what we actually do. One small nit most small children have a nick name for their body parts would a six year old call it her privates? Just a thought, perhaps they would because tats may have been what her mother taught her to call it.
You make Will a character we have respect for immediately and that gives us even more resin to read on. I only have time for three chapters as work calls but I back this book convinced that this is one that will climb the rankings. You will loose a few readers because of the subject matter as I do in my chapter one but anyone who wants to read a gripping story about real people will stick with you. Very well written.

Sue Mackender
Knowing Liam Riley – I hope you can make time to read some of mine.

AnneWright wrote 1339 days ago

Wow - I've only read the first chapter and my indignant hackles are already raised! (I'm always a cause waiting to happen.) This is well-written and gripping material.

Anne
Closeted Courage

Elizabeth Wolfe wrote 1340 days ago

Dear Stuart,
Your prologue is compelling, vividly portrayed, and heart break real. The impact of the molestation on the girl and her mother is perfectly written. There are no words, and yet you found just the right combination of words for no words.

BACKED
Elizabeth Wolfe (MEMORIES OF GLORY)

Ransom Heart wrote 1386 days ago

Ex parte is bad, especially when it happens in the first chapter! Backed, backed, backed. Marianne (Saint Paddy and the Sundial)

A Knight wrote 1453 days ago

Read chapter one to three, and only a lack of time stopped me from continuing. The realism of this is what caught me by the throat. I could practically feel the heat, the despair, the character's tiredness and frustrations at the justice system. I'd hesitate to call this fiction, because that suggests it's a lie, and it felt all too real to me.

Backed with pleasure.
Abi xxx

Amylovesbooks wrote 1459 days ago

This is not usually my favorite genre, but this book is different. I've read all there is, and want to read more. Backed with pleasure.

Amy
Love Match

toussaint wrote 1469 days ago

[R12]

This is a great piece of work. I like Will a lot. He is clever and sympathetic. His attraction for his secretary is a nice counterpoint. As too is his relationship with his dead father and the legacy of his reputation in the small community. The subject matter is important and nicely chosen. Although not made explicit until chapter 6 it is clear from the narrative that Will is white. Your opening is sensible and has an element of conflict—whether or not he will get the repossession of the farm stopped—to engage us a bit. We know what it’s about from the pitch and you get down to business when he is called in to see the Judge. The background of his fee paying client work is nice and allows us to see more of Will and his relationship with his community. I particularly liked some of the descriptions you use: “magazine quality teeth”—“bon bon eating oxygen thief”—“a mixture of fear, anger, and bravado that coated you like early summer sweat”—“as he waited for the air conditioner to pull the teeth from the humid night”. There is an acerbic and critical wit behind the narrative which does you credit. One mistake in chapter 2, possibly, in: “Jesus, he was a piece of work”, should that be “she”?

Guess what? I’m backing this. It’s a shame I can only do so once. Please consider having a look at Bokassa’s Last Apostle if you have time in return. I hope you’ll enjoy it having read what you chose to write.

Nick Poole2 wrote 1515 days ago

I'm sure I commented on this before, with its heartbreaking opening scene. Can't find the comment now though.

Did I even back it? I should have. This fine work. Very fine.

I shall do both again now, to make sure it stays shelved this time.

Nick
"Mirror In The Sky"

lionel25 wrote 1519 days ago

Wow! Great narrative and dialogue. Nothing to nitpick in the prologue and first chapter. Stewart, I think your novel deserves a higher rating.

Happy to back this.

Joffrey (The Silver Spoon Effect)

Quenntis wrote 1519 days ago

This is an interesting read, starting with the words of the little girl, and moving into a contrasting, more formal setting. Characterization is minimal and defly done to include only salient aspects. The balance between dialogue and description is well-maintained and the subject matter is of meaty substance. The author is covering quite a few interesting topics/themes: Race, Law, Country life, Religion, Gay rights...

Although the work is interesting in and of itself, it might be tightened further by introducing more tension - perhaps further chapters will explore this side? Tension is hinted at in the limited time the MC has to prepare for the case and the number of witnesses he has to interview. It seems an insurmountable task for the MC. This is good.

Quenntis.

JoeTheAuthor wrote 1523 days ago

Finished chapter four today. Still loving it! One thing: there is a line that says "Lamar wasn't even going to give him the chance to use the defense tactic that justice delayed is justice 'defied.'" I know you are a former attorney, so I have to assume that the "defied" is a typo, right?

JoeTheAuthor wrote 1524 days ago

Well, well...here I am keeping my promise to devote at least one hour per day reading High Cotton at my computer. Surprise, surprise. It just keeps getting better! I see that the author is a lawyer; that accounts for the authenticity. What I want to know is where he learned to write so well. Some might say he wasted his time studying the law, when he could have been writing, but I would offer that the time was well spent. Another lawyer/writer I have admired is John D. Voelker, who penned Anatomy of a Murder under the name of Robert Traver. With due respect to Voelker, Phillips' work joins his on a level above most others. Continuing kudos, Mr. Phillips. Can't wait for tomorrow's session...

JoeTheAuthor wrote 1525 days ago

Backed - with extreme prejudice!! The prologue is a grabber, and while I've not read past that, I would be shocked if what follows is any less impressive. Is the book in print? If not, I may just have to devote an hour or so each morning to read it at my computer (which is saying a lot, because I'm at the damn thing more than I'm not!). Shades of Boo Radley; this looks like a sure winner.

Joe Perrone Jr.
As the Twig is Bent

Barry Wenlock wrote 1528 days ago

Hi Stuart - I was going to write a lot of stuff but I've just read some of your comments and see that it's all been said. In a word - excellent.
Best wishes, Barry (Little Krisna and the Bihar Boys)

Suzannah Burke wrote 1529 days ago

Stuart, I am on a hunting trip this morning. My prey are red arrows that need to be made extinct.

266 other readers agree with me, This quality of writing should be on The ED.

All the superlatives have been used.

I will simply add Bravo.

Backed with absolute pleasure
Suzannah Burke

Jesse Hargreave wrote 1536 days ago

Backed January 13.

Jesse - Savant

http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=14062

Philip Whiteland wrote 1549 days ago

This is good. A very awkward subject that is really sensitively handled in the Prologue and the establishment of the main character and the world that he inhabits. Very brave choice of subject matter that is bound to be compelling. Believable dialogue and good descriptive writing. Shelved.

Philip (Steady Past Your Granny's)

Chris 1 wrote 1552 days ago

Hi Stuart - High Cotton puts me in mind of 'To Kill a Mockingbird', and I really mean that as a compliment.
The opening chapter is heartbreaking but sets the scene for what is to follow. I hope this is going to be a killer of a courtroom/investigation novel. Will is obviously living in the shadow of his father Sir and, we'll probably see him battling to live up to his reputation - all the while unravelling what promises to be a rivetting case.
You portray this world excellently. I can almost feel the air conditioning. Can't wait to meet Wendell Curtis. There's lots of issues I feel you're going to cover - justice, truth, race, sexual abuse, prejudice, and the realationship between Will and his dead father and whether he will succeed in bringing the perpetrator to justice and proving a man innocent. What a great setting. BACKED Can you take a look at a couple of chapters of mine? Chris1

Stephi4dance wrote 1578 days ago

Hi, this book is beautifully written, the writing flows so amazingly and you make the characters so real and seem so real. A powerful topic of both racism and homophobia, you write in a powerful and believable way. Backed as this is well written and although the themes are not for me personally, I enjoyed your style of writing and I feel many people will enjoy your work. Best wishes and good luck Stephanie (Emily-Jayne)

Strayer wrote 1585 days ago

This could be non ficiton with it's feel of the south and the social attitudes of the enire country. It reads so easily. I enjoyed reading this and want to read the rest. Thank you for writing High Cotten.

maitreyi wrote 1587 days ago

ok, now i'm into the narrative and i'm impressed. the opening scene is a fantastic way to introduce the crime. my interest has been whetted now because i still haven't met the accused. at last! wendell curtis appears!

this really has all the makings of a great book and it deserves to shoot up the charts as far as it can go. it is certainly getting a place on my shelf.

xx
m
THE ETON MOTHERS' HANDBOOK

maitreyi wrote 1587 days ago

a couple of things about the pitch. 'does it even matter' really undermines the bite of your short pitch. i would delete it.

secondly the expression 'saddled with' obviously implies that the case is a real bind for Will. if, rather, he is keen to confront racism and homophobia, this expression is misleading and detracts from our hero.

and finally, i'm in a nitpicking mood, the defendant's name would bring the pitch alive.

the client and the lawyer - isn't this a story about their relationship and where it fits into society? ok, reading on.
xx
m

writingwildly wrote 1592 days ago

There are a lot of great books on here. Some are poetic, some are almost educational, some are funny and a great many are introspective. There are also crime stories. They have the basics: the crime, the cop(s), the perp(s), etc. Yours is so much more. This is a fully polished, excellent novel, one that will be snapped up fast, I'm sure. I'd buy this today if I could. Your action and dialogue flow without effort, the thoughts that inhabit Will's mind are those of a real live person, with all of his righteousness and his imperfections. I am completely sold on this great book and wish you all the best.
- Genevieve
Under The Same Sky

galencharles wrote 1597 days ago

Stuart,
These are each daring subjects taken alone: molestation, racism, homophobia. Yet you have chosen to tackle all three. I applaud you. The reader just knows it’s going to be a gut-wrenching roller coaster.

Stuart handles the molestation scene very sensitively as a little black girl explains to her mother that she was ‘hurted’ in her privates at the Blake Daycare. An emotional scene, the reader wants to know ‘who done it’; a hook well set.

Will Luckman is the small town lawyer and chronic do-gooder, two jobs he inherited from his father, whose clients are mostly from the black side of town. He is named to handle the molestation case against a black man. One can’t help but be reminded of To Kill a Mockingbird, more tall shoes to fill.

That said, this is a finely crafted, fast-paced read. Excellent dialog, the southern drawl fairly sings across the page capturing not just the accent but tradition, culture and personality of the deep south. Vivid descriptions perfect the delicious images complete with columned buildings and Magnolias. Stuart lets out back the story in pieces making the prose fluid and easy to read. My compliments, suh.

Backed with pleasure.
Galen – The Psalter

Paula Ring wrote 1598 days ago

This is one of those gems that restores your faith in the future of good writing! Fantastic use of dialogue builds the tension in the prologue and from then on the reader is hooked.
Definitely backed.

AlanMarling wrote 1599 days ago

Dear Stuart Phillips,

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your greatest strength lies in your dialog, in its short poignant passages, often which stand alone without the need for attributions. You have a great start, and the line that made me sit up in my seat was “Momma, if I tell you something bad, promise I won’t get in trouble?” In fact, I wonder if you’d ever considered starting out with that line. Great line : “Smile like an alligator eyeing a bird with a broken wing.” You portray the vulture-like judge well and build sympathy for Will as he’s forced to take a case he’s not even expected to prepare for.

In my fallible opinion, you could make your pitch even more exciting by tweaking the wording of the second sentence to “The state forces you lawyer Will Luckman to defend him and confront….”

This small matter aside, I enjoyed your story. Needless to say, your background qualifies you well to write legal thrillers. Bravo! Backed.

Best wishes,
Alan Marling

Rosali Webb wrote 1600 days ago

Stuart
Child abuse is an issue that grabs people by the throats immediately, to pit it against the necessary thought of certain racial discrimination is a very strong book choice, and you handle it well. I was hooked from that first moment in the car, and how it glided away and we became aware of the cogs behind the judicial system. The character Will is a trustable type to take it through, and already we have faith he will make the right decisions. Backed
Rosali
Fieldtrip to Mars

forever.unbroken wrote 1603 days ago

High Cotton

You obviously have a true talent for description and dialogue. Every detail is taken into account with this story, and it sets a clear picture in the reader's mind. The main character seems particularly realistic, not least of all through the fact that his smaller actions are taken into account. While the lesser events that occur within the first few chapters don't seem to directly relate to the main plot of the story, they support it in setting the scene well.

There was one thing that I picked up on while reading that I thought I should point out - in chapter (I think three, but don't quote me) While the airconditioner dispute is occuring, you wrote:

"Nolan couldn't resist. He could never resist.

'Your honour, we feel that this motion is frivolous.... It is simply preposterous to argue that the Defendent could not have stolen the airconditioner without going into the house'"

By that statement, the double negatives suggest that Nolan is saying that its silly to say that the Defendent must have gone into the house, but we all know that isn't Nolan's point. I think what you meant to write was 'could have stolen', rather than 'could not have stolen'.

Overall, very well delivered story with excellent descriptive language. I'm backing.

Mardi wrote 1604 days ago

Hi Stuart! I have just finished reading your Prologue and first two chapters of your book. I will be backing it, wholeheartedly, when I finish these comments. A story set in my beloved South, it promises to be a courtroom drama with all the quirky characters that the region seems to embrace. The development of all of your characters is right on the money, as you divulge a little bit more with each chapter. I’m only in it for two chapters and I already know it will be a compelling tale of truth vs. the norms and prejudices of an area that, in many ways, has their own set of rules. I have made a few comments, per chapter, but note that I am not an expert. However, I have been told that I’m pretty good at this so let’s see what you think.
CHAPTER ONE (including Prologue):
Prologue: I’m thinking you should re-word the paragraph that depicts the little girls trembling in the car. It almost sounds like she is having some kind of seizure. Perhaps a mention of ‘crying so hard she was gasping for breath’ and tone down ‘with such violence that she was jerking against the straps’ might help. Also, add ‘ran around the car and’ to ‘flew to her daughter’s side’. It is clear that the little girl is not in the front seat (because Mom would’ve just leaned over if she had been) but you never told us that when she first put the child in the car. ‘just a panic attack’ Little girls don’t have panic attacks so I would delete that reference. (Actual panic attacks are something adults suffer with.) I would just say something like ‘she realized her daughter’s distress might be due to separation anxiety.’ Then go on with ‘Take a clingy six-year-old…’. This Prologue is very good….every mother’s nightmare.
Chapter One: ‘the original three-story Victorian monstrosity had….’ What has this got to do with YOUR story? I would delete the entire reference. Then you go on to tell us that the new building was finished the year his father started practicing. This really tells us nothing unless you tell us the exact year. ‘..a sharp nose pointing accusingly from between bushy grey eyebrows.’ A bit awkward. How about simply ‘…a sharp pointy nose sitting between bushy grey eyebrows.’ I would change ‘careful stacks’ to ‘neat stacks’ for a smoother sentence. ‘Unlike Judge Thomas’ Who is this? Oh, yes, from the beginning of the chapter. Perhaps a brief word or two of enlightenment for your reader is warranted here, or simply delete the reference entirely. Great chapter ending. However, I would suggest a few references to the locale in this chapter. The city or county, perhaps? We should know by now that this is all happening in the South.
CHAPTER TWO: ‘satellites orbiting the legal sun’ Great combo of words! ‘secretary by serendipity’ I’m not sure ‘serendipity’ works here. If she was the first secretary he had hired, then maybe it would have been ‘serendipity’ but this situation seems to be one attributed to Will’s sheer determination to hold out for a treasure and then happened to get lucky. ‘He came back from lunch the first day to find her holding a client’s hand over the phone.’ Again, a bit awkward. I couldn’t figure out why she would be physically holding a client’s hand over the phone. So maybe straighten it out by simply re-arranging words, ending up with something like ‘He came back from lunch the first day to find her speaking with a client on the phone, almost holding the client’s hand as she told her what a great lawyer she had hired.’ And please change ‘little woman things’ to ‘little feminine things’.
Well, that’s it. I do feel I should caution you as to your use of ‘-ly’ words such as ‘sickly’, ‘finally’, ‘nominally’, ‘quickly’ and others. In almost every case (with the possible exception being dialogue), a sentence becomes stronger and carries more literary tension when these pesky adverbs are deleted. Try it and I think you will see what I mean. I hope you can decipher my comments and I hope that they help. All in all, you are a very talented writer, Mr. Phillips. You know the fine balance between dialogue and narrative, knowing when to use each to its full advantage. You know how to introduce details that build tension gradually. With a little bit of editing, I think this will appeal to any publisher that is interested in a character driven and character-building story. When it comes time to negotiate your contract, hold on to those movie rights tightly. They may just make you a rich man some day. Can’t wait to curl up by the fire with this one! Backing it right now……..

Mairi Graham wrote 1604 days ago

Hi Stuart. I've read all that you've posted and have to say it's gripping, even though it's leaving a really bad taste in my mouth. The subtle ways Will is being forced to act fairly and humanely in spite of his obvious early prejudice are very well done. Will seems to be a decent man who has allowed himself to become morally lazy, and I assume the story will be as much about the redemption of Will Luckman as it is about the defence of Curtis. I look forward to the rest of the story and back it with pleasure.

Mairi Graham wrote 1604 days ago

Hi Stuart. I've read all that you've posted and have to say it's gripping, even though it's leaving a really bad taste in my mouth. The subtle ways Will is being forced to act fairly and humanely in spite of his obvious early prejudice are very well done. Will seems to be a decent man who has allowed himself to become morally lazy, and I assume the story will be as much about the redemption of Will Luckman as it is about the defence of Curtis. I look forward to the rest of the story and back it with pleasure.

scottkenny wrote 1605 days ago

Straightforward, honest good writing here Stuart. I'm too much of an escapist to read this for pleasure and too old not to know such things exist and therefore shouldn't be ignored. There is a strong quality of realness threading through High Cotton which gives it the integrity of a quality book. I wish you well with it, Scott.

Jupiter Echoes wrote 1605 days ago

Atmohperic, with a good pace and a plot that promises more. Characterisation and descriptions are good. You use aprostaphes right too, as far as I can tell.
Keep on chugging along pushing this to the ed's desk. Good luck

BACKED

CarolynJ wrote 1606 days ago

Powerful story, powerfully written addressing head-on very real issues of the day. I've never been to America but the people, places and dialogue came across as authentic: I could hear the characters talking, I could feel the mother's pain and despair as she cuddled - almost smothered - her daughter in the car. Backed, Carolyn.

Raymond Nickford wrote 1606 days ago

As soon as the daughter''s 'black face had faded to the sickly grey of used chalk' and, effectively, she begins to have a fit in her mother's car, followed by the urgent exchange of dialogue between the two, we have, to understate, an inkling that there is something more than a at her daycare centre. Your fish has taken a first bite on your hook.
The language register was carefully chosen for the age of the daughter when she begins, 'But I got hurted' and when it unfolds that the girl has been asked by her mentors to conceal how/where she got hurt, we have to anticipate that she has been physically or sexually abused at - so called - 'daycare'.
The rawness is sustained through Chapter 1 and the emotional build powerful, leaving me on the side of your MC.
This, combined with the storyline promised in your synopsis, and the strength of your storytelling, made me want to read on. Shelved.
Ray
(A Child from the Wishing Well)

mattrogers wrote 1607 days ago

You've done a great job of capturing and rendering a true 'southern' feel in your writing. I'm actually really enjoying reading this. I skipped ahead to chapter 6 like you asked and the section with the preacher felt entirely plausible and realistic. I especially liked how you mentioned how many in the south connote homosexuality with pedophilia, because as unfortunate as it may be, it most definitely rings true. Great job!

Esrevinu wrote 1608 days ago

This is a wildly entertaining narrative driven story. You have a way of creating descriptive verses that fit so perfectly, i.e. the drive to Marks and the toothless twenty year old.

Two thumbs up!

Scott
The Esrevinu Chronicles/Secrets of the Elephant Rocks

Esrevinu wrote 1608 days ago

This is a wildly entertaining narrative driven story. You have a way of creating descriptive verses that fit so perfectly, i.e. the drive to Marks and the toothless twenty year old.

Scott
The Esrevinu Chronicles/Secrets of the Elephant Rocks

robf wrote 1610 days ago

Hi Struart,

This is highly publishable stuff , slick, polished and full of emotion. The first capter works very well split between the heart rendering talk between mother and duagther and the court case. I would say that dialogue seems to be your real strength - that and the meticulous reasearch which makes High Cotton seem so real. Backed, Rob

jfreedan wrote 1611 days ago

This is a fascinating story, and pretty well written as far as I can tell. The premise would probably do well in the market today since the subject of unfair trials and homosexuality are huge issues in society today. This isn't the normal genre I read, but I'm backing this because I see its potential.

Miles Etherton wrote 1613 days ago

Hi Stuart,
Firstly, I really like legal stories, and this has a real subtlety to in its delivery and descriptions. I like the many discrete references to the Mississippi heat, and then the metaphors such as "satellites orbiting the legal sun", very nice! I think it could do with a little edit for the odd typo e.g. 'three story (storey?) victorian monstrosity'. Very well written. Miles.

T. Allen Winn wrote 1616 days ago

Stuart, I'm in High Cotten, plain and simple, backed!!!

Debbie wrote 1617 days ago

There's nothing I can say about this other than I'd buy it. Great pitch, great premise, expertly executed. Shelved.

John Harold McCoy wrote 1617 days ago

Hi, Stuart. Sorry it's taken me so long to get to this.
Great opening. Sets the tone and made me want to continue. Very nice writing in my opinion and the story develops along very well. The MC is believable, as is the dialog. And your descriptive work is excellent. Not my kind of book but I think it deserves backing. On my shelf.

Clipso123 wrote 1618 days ago

An excellent well written start. Backed.


Sara (The Organ Grinder)

Michael Drakich wrote 1619 days ago

Hi Stuart,

This is a humdinger of a premise. You're hitting a real raw nerve that will only make people want to read it more!

Michael Drakich
Grave Is The Day

Somerset wrote 1619 days ago

High Cotton

Oh, I'd absolutely buy this if it were in print! That prologue -- every parent's worst nightmare, and I've already decided that whoever is hauled into court for it is guilty. Now I want to see how you're going to persuade me that the accused is innocent -- it's going to be difficult under normal circumstances, but with the accused in the Deep South --- oooh. Clever stuff. (A very minor nit in Ch1 -- there's an unintentional dangling modifier: "Five foot six on a good day, the years had stripped away the little meat Lamar had" -- technically means that the years are five foot six, not Lamar.) Shelved, with pleasure.

Richard Allen wrote 1619 days ago

A well-crafted, quality thriller that challenges one of Grisham’s early works. The imagery is excellent, the prose flawless. You have a deft feel for the right balance between the narrative and dialogue. The characters are interesting and well developed. Superb.

Philip Crippen wrote 1621 days ago

High Cotton

Dear Stuart,

At first I thought that this was going to be a run of the mill lawyer story, a contemporary Atticus Finch. But as I continued to read, your narrative began to come through, and any preconceived thoughts that I held were washed away.

Keenly descriptive, and well executed use of Free and Indirect Discourse have given the reader a rich landscape of the locale, and mainly of Will and the other important characters. I like how you explain through incidental dialogue (as well as your narrative) the daily grind that is lawyering.

I already shelved this, but just now commenting.

Excellent work, and good luck!

~Phil
"Emerluvly"

(I assume that the prologue is combined with chapter one so that you can keep your chaptering square?)