Willie Black has squandered a lot of things in his life -
his liver, his lungs, a couple of former wives and a floundering
daughter can all attest to his abuse. He's lucky to be employed, having
managed to drink and smart-talk his way out of a nice, cushy job
covering (and partying with) the politicians down at the capitol.
he's back on the night corps beat, right where he started when he came
to work for the Richmond paper almost 30 years ago. The thing Willie's
always had going for him, though, all the way back to his hardscrabble
days as a mixed-race kid on Oregon Hill, where white was the primary
color and fighting was everyone's favorite leisure pastime, was grit.
His mother, the drug-addled Peggy, gave him that if nothing else. He
never backed down then, and he shows no signs of changing.
co-ed at the local university where Willie's daughter is a perpetual
student is murdered, her headless body found along the South Anna River,
the hapless alleged killer is arrested within days. Everyone but Willie
seems to think: Case Closed. But Willie, against the orders and advice
of his bosses at the paper, the police and just about everyone else,
doesn't think the case is solved at all. He embarks on a one-man crusade
to do what he's always done: get the story.
On the way, Willie
runs afoul of David Junior Shiflett, a nightmare from his youth who's
now a city cop, and awakens another dark force, one everyone thought
disappeared a long time ago. And a score born in the parking lot of an
Oregon Hill beer joint 40 years ago will finally be settled.
The truth is out there. Willie Black's going to dig it out or die trying.