Lemaster Carlyle, the president of the country's most prestigious university, and his wife, Julie, the divinity school's deputy dean, are America's most prominent and powerful African American couple. Driving home through a swirling blizzard late one night, the couple skids off the road. Near the sight of their accident they discover a dead body. To her horror, Julia recognizes the body as a prominent academic and one of her former lovers. In the wake of the death, the icy veneer of their town Elm Harbor, a place Julie calls "the heart of whiteness," begins to crack, having devastating consequences for a prominent local family and sending shock waves all the way to the White House.
""*Starred Review* When Kellen Zant, a brilliant black economist on the faculty of a New England college, is murdered in an apparent robbery attempt, the entire town of Elm Harbor is thrown into a stir. For it recalls the 30-year-old scandal of the murder of Gina Joule, a professor's daughter, and the subsequent killing of a local black youth charged with her murder. Unresolved issues of class and race continue to haunt the town, leery of outsiders and all members of the darker nation, including the new college president, Lemaster Carlyle, and his wife, Julia. The Lemasters are drawn into the investigation of Zant's murder not just by virtue of Lemaster's position but because Julia and Zant had once been lovers. She remembers a cruelty that nearly destroyed her and resents the intrusion into her ordered life with the cool and uber-rational Lemaster. But Julia also senses that her troubled teenage daughter, Vanessa, is somehow tied to Zant's murder. Both had been investigating the Joule murder, Vanessa for a term paper, Zant for apparently nefarious reasons. Julia's investigation takes her to Boston, Harlem, and as far away as France, the home of her self-exiled mother, the celebrated firebrand Mona Veazie. Every clue threatens the stability of Julia's marriage as she uncovers possible connections between Lemaster, a powerful black social club, and three former college roommates who share a secret that may wreck their lives and reset the political landscape. Carter follows his highly-acclaimed Emperor of Ocean Park (2002) with another sharp, absorbing look at the black elite, academia, and power politics. Absolutely riveting."--"Bush, Vanessa" Copyright 2007 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Two lesser characters from Yale law professor Carter's bestselling first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park (2002)-husband and wife Lemaster and Julia Carlyle-take center stage in his second, a compelling, literate page-turner that effortlessly blends a gripping whodunit with complex discussions of politics and race in contemporary America. Lemaster, one of the country's most influential African-Americans, has recently begun his tenure as president of a prestigious New England university. As he and Julia, who serves as a dean in the university's divinity school, drive home one snowy night, they happen upon the corpse of Professor Kellen Zant, a brilliant economist as well as Julia's former lover. The murder threatens to shatter not only the Carlyles' marriage but also the fragile psyche of their precocious but troubled daughter, Vanessa-and may affect the upcoming, bitterly contested race for the White House. Julia proves an unlikely but dogged investigator, who looks beyond the official verdict that Zant was killed in a chance encounter with a robber. In the richness of his characters, both major and minor, and the intelligence of his writing, Carter rivals Scott Turow. Expect another bestseller. 300,000 first printing; author tour. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved