Putnam, May 2002, 26.95, 291 pp.
In Jefferson, a small town north of New Orleans, four teenagers vandalize a slave cemetery for kicks. Caryl Jackson, a black man tries to stop them, but he is attacked by the ringleader and lies near death in the hospital. Successful land developer Michael Tournier, aware of his image, owns the land where the cemetery is located.
He hires Danny Chaisson, a former prosecutor and FBI informant, to do damage control. Danny drives to Jefferson to make sure the Jackson family does not sue Tournier's company in civil court. He carries out his assignment but he finds he needs to help the Jackson family who don't expect justice in a town controlled by the whites. Danny's involvement in local affairs leads to murder and a town verging on the edge of exploding.
THE BURYING FIELD is a dark gritty story that deals with race issues in a realistically brutal manner. Kenneth Abel hold a mirror up to American society and the reflection it reveals is something that never died even though well over a century since when Lincoln emancipated most slaves. Like it or hate it readers will not easily walk away from this book unaffected.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner