RECENT REVIEWS OF TOUCH OF REDEMPTION
Below are four Amazon reviews.
ENGROSSING TIMES, DRAMA, AND DETECTIVE FICTION! MAY 5, 2016
There's a lot of page-to-page excitement in Waights Taylor Jr.'s "Touch of Redemption," the second installment in his projected Joe McGrath and Sam Rucker detective triology. McGrath was the former white police-employed homicide detective who has now turned private investigator after his disillusionment in solving an especially onerous and racially-charged series of murders alongside Sam Rucker, his best black friend in Taylor's first offering "Kiss of Redemption". Now the two are challenged to find who was responsible for Joe's own father's death, possibly under vengeful circumstances some years before. What endangers their search and excites the reader is Taylor's tale told in 1948 Alabama, then seething with the raw emotions, hope, and murderous outrage on the cusp of the Civil Rights Movement.
To heighten the urgency of his time-frame and give his novel solid architecture, Taylor prefaces each chapter with a provocative title and a specific time and place ("The Tained Transcript, Tuesday, January 27, 1948"). Likewise, Taylor's maximum dialogue and minimal prose move the action and reader along with almost machine-gun like staccato ("Protocol, is that what you call it? It's racism! That's what it is!").
But beneath the discovered corruption, the frightening confrontations and the many murders and mayhem of the period, there is a contemporary resonance that can deeply disturb: Is this really Alabama in 1948 or Chicago in 2016? Is this black-white struggle really 68 years ago or just 68 days ago? Are these de-humanizing separatist laws not still redolent of the South's problems today (who can vote, who can marry, and who can use which public toilet)? These are yet more reasons to read Taylor's engrossing saga.
SUSPENSEFUL, RIVETING, AND REVEALING! MAY 31, 2015
This my third Waights Taylor, Jr., book. "Touch of Redemption" is a page turner. Set in 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama, and a nearby sparsely populated county, this suspenseful story reveals the influence that racism, history and class have over every person and event.
The books two main characters are Joe McGrath and Sam Rucker, a white and black investigator, who form a private detective agency. They are very good at their work. They cannot disclose that they are business partners. That is just one of many things that cannot be mentioned.The steps that they must take to conceal that they work together breathe life into what Jim Crow laws and attitudes meant.
Joe and Sam navigate the challenges posed by bias and hatred, while pursuing leads in the stale murder of Joe's father, an attorney murdered apparently for defending a black man falsely accused of murdering a white man. How a community, including the courts, can be complicit in a murder is one of the sub-plots.
Readers want someone brought to justice for the brutal murder of Joe's father and the execution of the African-American defendant. Are those responsible now deceased? All of this will be answered.
Waights is a master storyteller. He writes what he knows. In the forties and fifties, Waights lived in Birmingham and Livingston, an Alabama college town, where his father was the editor of the local newspaper. Because Waights grew up in a town where, as a boy, he saw from his home a cross set afire by the KKK in the town square, Waights senses and sees the signs of race and history all around his characters. Most of all, Waights grabs his readers' interest and he never lets go. "Touch of Redemption" will take you to another time and place. The characters are unforgettable.
Waights attended the University of Alabama, when it was first integrated. Waights also wrote, "Our Southern Home," an acclaimed history of the transformation of the South in the 20th century. The South's history is our history.
Although Alabama in 1947 comes vividly to life, this is an American and Southern story. It made me reflect on uncomfortable realities in my own life and that are present across our country.
I could not put "Touch of Redemption" down. I care about Joe and Sam and cannot wait for the next Joe McGrath and Sam Rucker novel. Get the first in the series as well. You will love it- "Kiss of Salvation."
I ESPECIALLY LOVE THE DIALOGUE. July 19, 2016
It's been a while since I've read much about the South as revealed in Waights Taylor Jr.'s "Touch of Redemption". But the atmosphere is vividly described with all of the warts and wounds that his mystery explores. There's a lot that is entertaining in the story; however, I especially love the dialogue. Having lived in the South for a number of years, I recognize that tone of the back and forth of black and white jargon - neither too highbrow, or lowbrow, for that matter! Waights takes his characters to surprising places for surprising reasons with surprising results. But "Touch of Redemption" is a mystery story, after all.
TOUCH OF REDEMPTION IS A GREAT READ. May 19, 2016
TOUCH OF REDEMPTION IS A GREAT READ! You can't put the book down because it is jammed with real black and white people doing the best they can in the Deep South, 1947. Waights Taylor Jr. has an objective and human view of that impossible period.
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