The Moaning Bench

     The year is 1980, and the city of Atlanta is being ripped apart by a cunning serial killer: Someone – some elusive ghost — is snatching black children off the streets, and leaving their mangled bodies in the woods, under railroad trestles, near seldom-traveled roads.

     Homicide Detective Cleveland Mock, recently yanked off the “Missing and Murdered Children” task force and assigned to desk duty, is spiraling downward: He is increasingly isolated from his fellow cops, having imaginary conversations with his dead wife and trying desperately to get back on the task force.

     Purely by chance, Mock is assigned to investigate a shocking, high-profile murder: Reverend Jimmy Lee Hightower, a charismatic civil rights leader from the small town of Almah, Georgia, is found stabbed at an Interstate rest stop in Atlanta. Hightower’s wayward son, Rufus, is found standing over the body – but no weapon is found, and Rufus refuses to talk.

     Almost immediately, some point the finger of suspicion at the Ku Klux Klan; Hightower is loathed by many because of his uncompromising efforts on behalf of black people in the South. But Mock soon comes to suspect that Hightower’s killer is actually among the minister’s most trusted inner circle.

     Mock rushes to close the case before Atlanta explodes into rioting – while battling his own demons and coming face-to-face with a twisted, demented killer who has taken great pleasure in planning Mock’s death.


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