Racial tensions ignite when a black tenure candidate at McKinley University becomes a suspect in the murder of renowned English professor Dr. Franklin Lodge, chair of the tenure committee. Former New York City cop reporter, now McKinley New-Press editor, Jake Bertrain becomes embroiled in an investigation that extends to a time and place that challenges his professional belief that news is just about the facts. A parallel story traces the history of a Gullah family whose lives on the southern coast of South Carolina reveal an ugly reality that stole acres of prime coastal real estate from descendants of pre-Civil War slaves and turned it into exclusive resorts. The story of Samuel and Mary Whelan and how they lost Samuel's birthright to crooked real estate developers collides with a murder and an attempted murder investigation some 30 years later on the peaceful McKinley University campus. Bertrain and campus police chief Ron Yardley independently pursue suspects ranging from psychology professor Harold Hunter whose tenure application Lodge had publicly opposed, to Lodge's graduate assistant Shamika Collins with whom he has just ended an affair, and gay McKinley undergraduate student Levi Graham, son of local KKK leaders, who had been the target of in-class attacks by Lodge because of his father's affiliation with the Klan. As Jake learns more and more about the victims and their possible attackers, he questions whether the whole story can be told with just the facts or if a greater truth hiding beyond the facts must also be told.
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About the Author
George Padgett is on the faculty in the School of Communications at Elon University in North Carolina where he teaches Media Writing, Media Law & Ethics and New Ideas in Communications. He is the author of New Directions in Diversity and the soon to be published Diversity A to Z. He Tweets on diversity issues at DiversityAtoZ and blogs at www.diversityatoz.com. He was the 2007 winner of the Tony Hillerman Mystery Short Story Contest. You may email him at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.