Author Guest Post
Ike Washington: Guilty with an Explanation
By Steve Piacente
Before judging Ike Washington, step into his shoes a moment.
It's 1959. You're a black teenager and live in a small town in the Deep South. The Civil Rights Movement is coming to a boil. Racial violence is rampant. One day you and a friend decide to sneak off and have a beer in the woods.
In the forest, you come to a clearing and hear a man pleading for mercy. Your friend sees what's happening and bolts. You freeze at the sight - a Klan lynching led by the local judge.
You're caught and given a choice: join the dead man or help the ambitious judge win black support so he can advance in state politics. Terrified, you agree. What else could you do, go to the police? The same police who are beholden to the judge?
They hold you down and smash your hand with a wooden mallet to ensure there will always be, as the judge puts it, "order in the court."
One year turns into five, five turn into ten, ten turn into twenty. You've become a power in your own right, U.S. Senator Lander McCauley's man behind the scenes in every black community in the state.
Your family has money and respect. The days of forcing you to cooperate are long gone. You and McCauley are the unlikeliest of political allies. By 1992, you stand poised to become the first black congressman elected in South Carolina since the Civil War.
But there is the guilt, the ever-present, all consuming guilt, and the knowledge that you rose to power on the judge's bloody coattails, and helped the white-robed murderer rise from judge to congressman, and then to United States senator.
Now that you know the story, how do you judge Ike Washington?
How will the voters judge him when a young reporter reveals his secret just before Election Day?
Most of all, how will Ike judge himself after everyone else has spoken? Can he assume the role of congressman, or will he forever wear the label sneered by his critics?
About The Author
In 2010, Steve self-published his first novel, Bella, the story of a widow's quest to uncover the truth about her husband's death on an Afghan battlefield. On September 1, 2012, he published its prequel, Bootlicker.
Originally from Brooklyn, Piacente grew up on Long Island and now lives in Rockville, Maryland with his wife.
Steve Piacente's Bootlicker Virtual Book Tour Page On JKSCommunications
Bootlicker Book Trailer
Publisher: 9 to 1 Press
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
Format: Paperback - 336 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Southern Fiction / Political Thriller
BUY THE BOOK: Bootlicker
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by JKSCommunications.
An unholy union exists between a racist U.S. senator and the candidate poised to become South Carolina’s first black congressman since the Civil War. The year is 1959, the setting, rural South Carolina. Poor, black teenager Ike Washington stumbles on a Klan lynching led by a white judge. Caught, he must choose: join the dead man or begin hustling black support the ambitious judge needs to advance. In trade, Ike is handed a life of comfort and power. Decades later, as he is poised to become the first black SC congressman since Reconstruction, guilt-wracked Ike winds up alone in the same forest, a long rope in his fist. Rookie reporter Dan Patragno uncovers the truth just before Election Day.
My Book Review:
Aspiring reporter Dan Patragno's story about a murder-suicide in the Charleston Herald-Ledger secures him a promotion covering the political scene for the newspaper. He is assigned to cover the Congressional race in South Carolina, where the lead candidate is poised to become the first black South Carolina congressman since the Civil War. Dan's coverage of the election will lead to an unearthing of a shocking union that exists between the candidate and a racist U.S. Senator that will rock the foundation of the South Carolina and U.S. political landscapes.
Bootlicker is a riveting Southern political thriller that will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. Written in the third person narrative, the author weaves an intriguing tale of behind the scenes political power plays and buried secrets. Set in the enchanting palmetto state of South Carolina, the story is rich in detail and descriptions of the pre-Civil Rights Southern political scene full of dark secrets, lynchings and racial issues that were thought to be deeply hidden only to be brought forward and revealed in the present time.
The author has created a cast of characters that are realistic, complex and multi-faceted. They come to life with their activities, interactions and dialogues that jump off the page. You can't help but get caught up in their strife, tension and struggles, the suspense is palpable. The reader is easily transported into this fascinating tale of survival, deception, guilt and redemption, it is simply astonishing and it will make you wonder if it could possibly be based on a true story.
Author Steve Piacente's insider Washington D.C. reporter experience provides the reader with one heck of a suspenseful political thriller that will resonate with you long after the story ends.
RATING: 4 STARS ****