Things Could Get Ugly is historical fiction, set in late summer, 1939. It was a time when the Great Depression lingered on, Jim Crow divided the South along racial lines, the Syndicate was extending its influence. Hitler threatened war in Europe, and there was speculation President Franklin Roosevelt might run for an unprecedented third term.
Jack O'Brien, a young newspaper reporter, returns to Covington, looking for a story that will make his reputation and, he hopes, help him land an assignment overseas to cover the events unfolding in Europe.
The story Jack finds involves a scoundrel preacher, a wrongly convicted black man, a corrupt politician, and a dangerous mobster. But if he pursues that story, he puts everything he holds dear at risk.
Although the story involves a gangster and public corruption, the novel has the "vibe" of the newspaper reporter movies that were popular in the 1930s. Many of its themes are relevant today.
And like those 1930s "reporter" movies, there's a romance angle too!