Berkley, Sept 2002, 6.50, 272 pp.
Litchfield, Alabama is a quiet town with little business to support the townsfolk. There have been Ingrams residing in Litchfield since the town was founded but Nelson graduated college with the sole intention of seeing the world and never returning to his hometown again. Lost jobs, failed opportunities and broken relationships bring Nelson back home where he becomes a reporter for the Litchfield Ledger.
He thinks he has a big story when a black man is found hanging from a tree. His first thought is KKK or a clone but when an autopsy reveals the victim was shot in the head at close range, Nelson believes something big is about to break. An investigation reveals that other locals were recently killed. The manager of a mob-connected nightclub is murdered soon after the “hanging”. After years of coasting through life, Nelson intends to take a stand by finding out the identity of the killers and bringing them to justice, or die trying.
SOUTHERN LATITUDES is a perfect depiction of a town in the Deep South. Customs, attitudes and beliefs enforce the uniqueness of the region. The story line is fast-paced and exciting but it is the protagonist who steals the spotlight. He is a hedonistic wastrel who finally finds the cause that worth fighting for, making him a lot like most people.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner