Her personal life may be a mess. And no one said her family was sane. But as lead detective at Atlanta's Peachtree Investigations, hard-nosed, fast-talking PI Sunny Childs is always up for cracking a case.
And now in Feet of Clay, her sixth mystery, Sunny is in thick. When her cousin Lee-Lee, a documentary filmmaker who's interviewing convicted murderer and rapist Dale Weedlow, invites Sunny along for the ride, Sunny knows her very presence will probably convince her flighty cousin that the sicko's been framed. But Sunny ends up going, and to her surprise, things are, indeed, not as they seem.
Evidence of a cover-up looms behind the gentility of the local politics, business, and law enforcement, and as usual, Sunny finds herself deep into the original murder case. But with the locals closing their doors in her face and the time before the convict's execution running short, Sunny has to hurry if she's going to get to the bottom of the six-year-old murders of two girls whose feet had sunk deep into the Southern clay.
Praise for Ruth Birmingham and Ace Atlanta PI Sunny Childs
"Witty, irreverent."--Harlan Coben, author of Fade Away
"Top-notch . . . The further adventures of Sunny Childs will be most welcome."--Booklist
"A terrific series."--Midwest Book Review
"Birmingham has established herself as the Queen of Atlanta crime fiction. Read and enjoy."--Fred Willard, author of Down on Ponce
"Gets better with each installment."--Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
"Sunny Childs is a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am great read."--J. A. Jance, author of Name Withheld
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|File size:||298 KB|
About the Author
Ruth Birmingham's second novel in the Sunny Childs series, Fulton County Blues, won the Edgar Award for best original paperback in 2000. Feet of Clay is her sixth Sunny Childs mystery.
Ruth Birmingham’s second novel in the Sunny Childs series, Fulton County Blues, won the Edgar Award for best original paperback in 2000. Feet of Clay is her sixth Sunny Childs mystery.
Read an Excerpt
Feet of Clay
By Ruth Birmingham
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Ruth Birmingham
All rights reserved.
Six Years Later
"Crack-up!" Lee-Lee said. "How's that grab you, Sunny? Or maybe like, Three Strikes, You're Dead? Wait, wait, I know! Rape Factory!"
"You're serious?" I said. "You want to make a film about a convicted rapist and murderer?"
Lee-Lee nodded vigorously, her eyebrow ring flashing in the light of the bar where we were sitting.
I said, "Explain to me why this would be of interest to sane human beings. I mean, it's like sticking your camera into a train wreck."
Lee-Lee wrinkled her nose at me. "Exactly! That's the point, Sunny," she said. "Everybody wants to look at a train wreck."
I sighed. Everybody has a crazy cousin. Lee-Lee is mine. Her craziness manifests itself in the form of various obsessions, each of which inevitably leads her into some kind of ridiculous disaster. She then relies on her boundless naÃ?vetÃ? and charm to get herself out of the inevitable disaster. Generally, she drags everybody she knows into the tragicomic storm that surrounds her, putting us all to great effort, pain, expense, or some combination there of. At various times she has announced to us that she was about to become: a professional bull rider, a painter, a swimwear designer, a banjo player, and a lot of other things. Her most recent mania was documentary filmmaking.
"So this guy is down at the death house at Jackson penitentiary?" I said.
"Germind Dale Weedlow," she said. "Date of birth, September twelve, 1969. Two years for assault, one year for possession of stolen goods, six months for receiving, and time served for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, eighteen months for attempted robbery. Then he got the big one."
"The big one."
"He got convicted of raping and killing two girls down in Flournoy County. Two death sentences: rape, murder, assault with a deadly weapon." She smiled. "He's a bad, bad, bad boy."
"Well, all I've got to say," I told her, "is don't get the idea that you're going to be the big crusader who proves this monster didn't do it."
"Au contraire, Sunny," she said. "I just want to, like, get inside this perv's mind, see what his deal is."
"How charming," I said. "Anyway, guys like this, they see some cute little sorority chickie like you, they're gonna be racking their sociopathic brains trying to figure out a million ways of using you, of abusing your trust."
Lee-Lee, more than anything else in the universe, hates being called a sorority chickie. These days, she's all nose rings and dyed black hair and tattoos. But she had spent about three weeks as a Tri Delt at UGA back when she was a freshman, and I've never let her forget it.
"Trust?" She laughed loudly, tossed a mug shot of a guy on the table. "You think I'd trust a guy like that?"
I looked at the guy in the picture; then I looked up at her. The contrast couldn't have been more stark. Weedlow had white-trash loser practically tattooed on his forehead. Small head, protuberant eyes, one tooth eaten away by decay, bad skin, a stringy mullet, a mulish expression in his eyes. Lee-Lee, on the other hand, is a child of privilege. I looked at her pretty dentistry, her flawless skin, her expensively dyed and disheveled hair, her nose ring, her eyebrow ring, the tattoo of Marilyn Manson on her shoulder---the whole sorority-girl-gone-wrong shtick---and I felt something cool move across my skin. She'd never had anything bad happen to her, didn't realize how ugly and how real a thing like this would turn out to be.
"You don't have a clue what you're getting into," I said. "You sit around up here in some coffeehouse in Atlanta with all your cynical hipster friends egging you on and you think, Hey, great, this'll be fun!" I shook my head. "I'm telling you, it ain't gonna be fun."
But she didn't listen. Lee-Lee's a sweet girl, but she never listens. Never ever. I've always been like her responsible big sister, the one who gives her good advice that she ignores. But then, I guess it's a family trait. Since when did I ever listen to anybody?
"So when's he scheduled to get the needle?" I said. "Sometime in the next couple years?"
"Uh..." Lee-Lee said. "Actually, next Friday."
I sighed loudly. "Germind?" I said. "This sicko's name is really Germind?"
"He goes by Dale. We can head down tonight."
"Tonight! Are you crazy?"
Lee-Lee smirked. "Tonight."
"No, Lee-Lee! Absolutely not."
"Oh, come on! Just for a day. Two at most."
"Lee-Lee," I said. "I've got a very big case I'm working on right now. If I go down there with you, all of a sudden you'll be convinced that this idiot got framed, that he's all innocent and everything. Next thing I know, I'll be wasting a week poking around down there in some jerkwater county full of inbred rednecks."
"Flournoy County is not that bad, Sunny!"
"Oh yes it is," I said. I drained the last of my beer. "Sorry, Lee-Lee. I can't."
Copyright Â? 2006 by Ruth Birmingham
Excerpted from Feet of Clay by Ruth Birmingham. Copyright © 2014 Ruth Birmingham. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Atlanta¿s Peachtree Investigations top private investigator Sunny Childs refuses to help her enthusiastic cousin Lee-Lee film a documentary on death row convict Germind Dale Weedlaw, who is to be executed in Jackson in a few days. Dale was found guilty of brutally raping and killing two women in Flournoy County.----- Not long afterward, at two in the morning, Sunny, sleeping with her fiancé FBI Special Agent Barrington Cherry, receives a collect call from a prison in Flournoy County from Lee-Lee, who has been arrested. Three hours after the call, Sunny and her brother attorney Walter arrive in the office of the county¿s sheriff in Pettigrew, Georgia. Lee-Lee insists she was falsely arrested because of her questions about the Weedlaw case. Sunny and Walter get her freed, but the sleuth stays around to keep the filmmaker out of trouble. They soon find stronger suspects than the convicted as they interview hostile locals.----- In her sixth appearance, Sunny is at her best as she deals with her zealous cousin and townsfolk who would prefer to lynch the outsiders than answer their inquiries. The story line focuses on a serious topic of capital crime while also uses family relationships and some local eccentric characters to provide humor. Ruth Birmingham shows why this is an award winning series with a fabulous regional mystery.---- Harriet Klausner
i know alout of people say books are good but you havent resd a good book until youve read fake id by walter sorrells i hated reding until i read this book im really inspired by it and i think youll like it and im only 12 years old so if you want to read a good mystery yet sad book let it be fake id WHAT ITS ABOUT: a young girl who grew up with over 80 different names for each new town she moved to is on the run with her mom and she dosent know her real name most subjects are off limmits like boys and other teenager girl things but the one here mom will never talk about is her dad and music even, well in the next couple of days her mom disapeers out of no were they say shes dead but this girl knows her mom is alive and she has 6 days to find her or she will be put in an orphanage well thats all im telling go buy the book and see how good it really is.