Series: Sully Carter #2
Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Viking
Publication Date: 6/30/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars
Washington, D.C., reporter Sully Carter returns in a thrilling murder mystery of race, wealth, and corruption, by the author of The Ways of the Dead
When Billy Ellison, the son of Washington, D.C.'s most influential African-American family, is found dead in the Potomac near a violent drug haven, veteran metro reporter Sully Carter knows it's time to start asking some serious questions—no matter what the consequences. With the police unable to find a lead and pressure mounting for Sully to abandon the investigation, he has a hunch that there is more to the case than a drug deal gone bad or a tale of family misfortune. Digging deeper, Sully finds that the real story stretches far beyond Billy and into D.C.'s most prominent social circles.
An alcoholic still haunted from his years as a war correspondent in Bosnia, Sully now must strike a dangerous balance between D.C.'s two extremes—the city's violent, desperate back streets and its highest corridors of power—while threatened by those who will stop at nothing to keep him from discovering the shocking truth.
The follow-up to last year's acclaimed The Ways of the Dead, this gritty mystery showcases Tucker's talent for spot-on dialogue, authentic characters, and complex narrative.
About the Author
Neely Tucker was born in Holmes County, Mississippi, then the poorest county in the poorest state in America, in 1963. He has since worked in more than sixty countries or territories across the world and currently writes for The Washington Post’s Sunday Magazine. His memoir, “Love in the Driest Season,” was named one of the best 25 Books of 2004 by Publisher’s Weekly, the American Bookseller’s Association, the New York City Library and won numerous other awards.
A seventh-generation Mississippian, he attended Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi, graduating magna cum laude from the latter, and was named as the University’s top journalism student. In college, he started writing for The Oxford Eagle as their “Yalobusha County correspondent,” which is perhaps the best job title any one has ever had. It was the smallest daily newspaper in Mississippi, and as such he covered everything from high school sports to county commission meetings to homicides to the Watermelon Queen festival.
After college, he worked at Florida Today, Gannett News Service and the Miami Herald, all in a four-year span. Moving to the Detroit Free Press, he lived in a loft above a downtown pizzeria, froze in the winters, and was named to run the paper’s European Bureau in early 1993.
Based in Warsaw, Poland, he datelined from forty-eight countries in forty-eight months. He principally reported on the war in the former Yugoslavia, but also covered violent episodes in Armenia, Israel and the West Bank, Lebanon, Iraq and several former Soviet provinces. Read More
A special thank you to PENGUIN GROUP Viking and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Neely Tucker returns with vigor, with his latest, MURDER, D.C. (Sully Carter #2), following the intense The Ways of the Dead (Sully Carter #1), a street-smart, fearless crime investigative reporter, who has been in war zones, now finds himself digging up connections in the underbellies of the drug world to solve a case.
Sully unravels deep dark secrets, racial injustice, slavery, and corruption -all the while, fighting against some high stakes-- from the politically connected, wealthy and powerful social circles; for a riveting razor-edge suspense mystery crime thriller of corruption, going back generations, from the southern states to urban streets of Washington, DC.
Having read The Ways of the Dead, was anxious to catch up with Sully, (love him), a journalist brought home from war in Bosnia and worn by loss, rage, and alcohol and his famous motorcycle. With his flaws and all, where he was involved in a deeply layered mystery, from the nation’s capital from the highest corridors of power to D.C.’s seedy underbelly, in the middle of violence and corruption. The saga continues . . .
As the novel opens, a few years later, Sully is living in a row house on Capitol Hill. It is spring of twenty-first century, and he finds himself on a fast boat pulling up to the waterfront channel, Frenchman’s Bend, when he sees a dead body pulled from the water. A few hours before deadline, his radar is up when he begins questioning the homicide cop.
For the last thirty years, the Bend, a park, scarcely acknowledged by the city--considered a drug park run. If Sully had not been raised in Louisiana, a state still haunted by slavery, he might have thought the Bend was poisoned or cursed. A city block of malignant soil so infected that it seeped into the souls of the living. The end had been claiming bodies for more than a century and a half. Sully has to think about where the slaves stood as they were pushed onto boats headed down to the Carolinas, Georgia, or Florida; Key West and back up to Mobile, Gulfport, or New Orleans.
The Bend, had been the District’s most notorious antebellum slave market, with long gone wooden pens, slaves brought from the farms lining the Potomac or Anacostia put on a platform and sold off onto ships bound for cotton plantations down south. It had opened long before Washington was the capital but stayed in business for decades, the shame of the city, slaves force-marched through the streets in neck shackles. Its stigma was so great that the land had never been built upon from Irish, Germans, and even blacks, Jews, not even in post WWII and the building boom.
Of course, just one more dead body in the middle of a drug haven, would most likely turn out to be another drug shooting in the middle of a city of drug wars; averaging almost a homicide every day, year round. An unsolved killing for John Parker, head of DC Homicide, and for Sully, a dead-end story which would take too long, coming up with nothing substantial. (Or, so he thinks at the time).
The murder victim turns out to be a young twenty-one year old African-American gay man, Billy Ellison with a bullet in his head. However, Ellison is the son of Washington, D.C's most influential African-American family. So he is gaining more media attention, than the norm. The family is wealthy and very politically connected. Billy was finishing his junior year at Georgetown and going into law like his old man. So unless he was caught up in drugs, why the murder, and is it connected to the Bend?
Turns out, Billy is the last heir of a prominent family in the nation’s capital. Gay and shot in the head at close range, indicating a drug deal, being what constituted most killings in the Bend and a strip of gay clubs nearby down on the O Street. Is there a connection between the place, and this high powered family? Sully is determined to find answers.
The cops are unable to uncover any leads; however, relentless Sully smells something dirty and feels the family’s law firm spokesman has something to hide. Why is he answering for the mother? Sully is obsessed with digging deeper, with his drug dealing connections, he attempts to uncover a string of deceit from the most prominent social circles to the back streets --and powerful giants who want their business to stay buried.
The Bend, located in the Southwest DC area near the brick walls of Fort McNair, small US army base running to the end of the peninsula—a place of prostitutes, drug dealers, and murders. Sully begins digging into other killings in previous years. Over the past year forty-four people had been killed in the Bend, a knoblike park of little more than an acre, and not one had been solved! It was where DC went to kill and be killed. Frenchman’s Bend was the murder capital of the murder capital. Three this year, and all three dumped in the channel.
The family background: 19th century family patriarch, Nathaniel Ellison made his fortune in banking, and extended down the generations. His son, Lambert, followed his father into the bank as manager, as did his son, Lambert II, until it was consumed in a merger with a larger bank in 1965, under the management of Lambert III. Delores Ellison (mother of Billy), his only child, now works as a strategist at the law firm of Sheldon Stevens, one of the most influential and power brokers in Washington. Of course, Stevens acts as a family spokesman, warning off Sully, with a restraining order, and had him escorted from the funeral by his PIs. Now Delores Ellison had a dead husband, a dead son and a lawyer, Shellie who wants Sully out of the way.
Sully is working with Sly for the key to finding out what is happening in the Bend. Whoever killed Sly’s mole, (Dee), may lead them to finding the killer of Billy. So Sully is about working what angles he has. Billy and Dee both died and now he may be the next victim.
Sully is threatened and warned to stay away from the story, not only from the higher ups, his boss, and the paper’s entire legal department, before this story breaks. After all, the paper paid him to deal with warlords and psychopaths and South African thugs abroad, so why not a few warlords here in the states? Now, three bodies in three week, this is no accident. Suspended so many time he cannot count. You have got to love Sully—you tell him he cannot do something, he will be even more determined to prove you wrong.
Wow, a complex, perfectly-paced, page-turner, crossing several genres, from crime, mystery, thriller, to historical fiction with investigative journalism at its grittiest! Tucker delivers witty, edgy, and razor-sharp dialogue, for a taunt, top-notch engrossing read, you cannot put down.
Fans of Michael Connelly, Karin Slaughter, Greg Iles, and fast-action crime thrillers will devour, and who better to deliver it than the author himself, with his extensive background! (have you read his bio?) Hello, take a look.
Neely Tucker draws heavily on his two decades reporting on crime and armed conflict from around the globe to create Sully Carter and his complicated moral realm in The Ways of the Dead and Murder, D.C.; Highly recommend both. You do not want to miss this series! Looking forward to the next.
Buy the Book
The Ways of the Dead
By Neely Tucker
Series: Sully Carter #1
Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Viking
Publication Date: 0/12/14
My Rating: 4 Stars
The electrifying first novel in a new crime series from a veteran Washington, D.C., reporter! Sarah Reese, the teenage daughter of a powerful Washington, D.C. judge, is dead, her body discovered in a slum in the shadow of the Capitol. Read More