Today's inflammatory headlines come to satiric life in this convoluted tale of self-serving hustlers as Detective Lawrence Striker and FBI Special Agent Cassandra Cassidy put their heads (and other things) together to weave their way through the violent eruptions of racial animosities and the rabble-rousing buzzards who feast on those divisions. There are crimes to solve but as the story evolves the layers of the fetid onion are peeled away to expose the maggots of deception and double-dealing.
In an early morning shootout on the mean streets of River City two African-American teenagers are gunned down by the cops and that heralds the emergence of the devious and race-baiting Reverend Abraham Castille to media-driven, national prominence as he, with incendiary rhetoric, escalates civil protest into open warfare. As flames threaten to consume the city a kindly old lady who was witness to the shootout is murdered, the city's police commissioner is assassinated, and the rioting spins inexorably out of control and spreads with lethal effect to other parts of the country. Striker and Cassidy are sucked into a cesspool of evil doings that include a drug trafficking network that reaches from River City all the way to Russian mobsters in Chicago. In this miasma of duplicity everyone is sworn to different agendas and Striker's resolve is put to yet another cruel and life-changing test.
With a comedic and jaundiced eye, Branon depicts how today's warped self righteousness and avaricious self-aggrandizement have squandered the non-violent legacies of those who led the civil rights movement of the 60s, a movement that wanted an equal opportunity for a seat at the table but didn't intend to burn the house down while they courageously pursued the invitation. All this wrapped inside a page-turning thriller, a jigsaw puzzle of nefarious motives and end games.
David R. Branon, a Harvard magna cum laude graduate, was the chief executive officer of a very successful business that was ultimately folded into a worldwide sporting goods conglomerate.
He became chairman of that entity's multi-million dollar Americas operation before strapping on an early parachute to pursue the passion of words rather than the sterility of numbers, however lucrative the latter may have been. His debut novel, The Curmudgeon's Tree, and his second, The Spider's Web, were met with high praise. He lives with his wife in Greenville, South Carolina.