“Around these parts, the publication of a new George Dawes Green novel is an event. … Green leans all the way into Southern Gothic, but the main grotesquerie is the city’s history, built on the backs of enslaved people. His prose is languid, even luxurious, but at critical moments of suspense, he pares it back to ramp up the terror.”
—New York Times Book Review
Savannah may appear to be “some town out of a fable,” with its vine flowers, turreted mansions, and ghost tours that romanticize the city’s history. But look deeper and you’ll uncover secrets, past and present, that tell a more sinister tale. It’s the story at the heart of George Dawes Green’s chilling new novel, The Kingdoms of Savannah.
It begins quietly on a balmy Southern night as some locals gather at Bo Peep’s, one of the town’s favorite watering holes. Within an hour, however, a man will be murdered and his companion will be “disappeared.” An unlikely detective, Morgana Musgrove, doyenne of Savannah society, is called upon to unravel the mystery of these crimes. Morgana is an imperious, demanding, and conniving woman, whose four grown children are weary of her schemes. But one by one she inveigles them into helping with her investigation, and soon the family uncovers some terrifying truths—truths that will rock Savannah’s power structure to its core.
Moving from the homeless encampments that ring the city to the stately homes of Savannah’s elite, Green’s novel brilliantly depicts the underbelly of a city with a dark history and the strangely mesmerizing dysfunction of a complex family.
This haunting literary thriller set in Savannah, Ga., from Edgar winner Green (Ravens) opens with crimes against two members of the city's sizable homeless community the stabbing murder of Luke Kitchens, a genial white kid in his early 20s, and the apparent abduction of Luke's drinking buddy, Stony, a 43-year-old Black woman a constituency not generally high among police priorities. But that changes with pressure from Luke and Stony's friends Jaq Walker, a fearless Black aspiring documentarian, and her uncle by marriage, Ransom, disgraced scion of the powerful white Musgrove clan. And then most crucially of all, formidable family matriarch Morgana Musgrove, the operator of a detective agency left to her by her late husband, gets involved after receiving a suspiciously large retainer to investigate. As the uneasy allies work their respective contacts in an increasingly desperate effort to save Stony, as well as to figure out who wanted to make her disappear and why, they get unmistakable warnings to back off, including a second murder and a suspicious "suicide." Deeply rooted in Savannah's at times horrific history, yet looking hopefully toward the future, this provocative page-turner is sure to enthrall a broad spectrum of readers. Green is writing at the top of his game. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Agency.
Fluff and Drivel
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This has got to be the worst book I’ve ever read. I’m not really sure how this author got so popular with publishers. But others may like the writing style. There’s nothing to the story. No plot, nothing happening, no lovable characters. It’s all nonsense. It was like reading about someone’s trip to the bathroom when they were constipated. I hate to be so mean but I expected so much more. After about 100 pages I gave up and skipped around then on to the end. Guess what? Nothing. We didn’t find much out except who the really bad character was. No treasure. I think the only characters I liked were Stoney and Luke. All we heard of Jaqs was the telling of her holding her bicycle every scene. And taking videos. It really makes me angry. I think that’s why I’m ranting so much. It’s like the author thinks his readers aren’t very smart and can throw us a grocery list for a big price and we will love it. It’s all dull and dry. It read like See Spot run. The only thing I liked about it was the cover and title. The cover was amazing.
Thank you to Celadon Books for the read. Always a pleasant surprise. Sorry it wasn’t a home run for me.