Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Paper Puzzle by Harvey Does More Than Entertain...

Bibb County Courthouse
~~~
Little did Robin Yette know that taking
on the red-haired stranger as a client would
lead to his first visit to Macon, Ga...
One minute he is arguing for the release
of his client and the next minute he is being
escorted into a car by federal marshals...
One moment a free fire-breating lawyer out
to protect the rights of the innocent, the
next unable to go to the bathroom
without permission...
Judge Owes commenced the hearing by
asking Robin Yette if an audiotape diary
existed...
Judge Owes ordered Robin Yette to turn
over the tape for inspection.
Yette responded by objecting...
Judge Owes would hear none of it...
Paper Puzzle

(Kindle Edition)



By Harold Michael Harvey


OMG, I just finished a great cliffhanger! I hate cliffhangers...


But you know what? After the chills had left my body, I realized that even if Harold Michael Harvey does not write a followup novel, that I didn't mind...not knowing the final whodunit! The entire story was so satisfying that I could accept not knowing the final outcome. Readers are able to surmise that good indeed won over evil!

I want to early point out that, at least with the kindle edition, there are many problems with spacing and format of the book and there were editorial issues that should have been attended to. However, this fanatic proofreader had little trouble skirting them, just because the storyline was so compelling. The suspense is ongoing and seemingly unending until the climatic last page, so I must recommend that readers forego criticism of the editing and just sink into the story. You won't be sorry!

Paper Puzzle
Beginning in 1985 and historically looking back to the 40s, we take a close look at Macon Georgia. My guess is that it was a typical southern town, although it did have a fortunate turn during the war in that the town had little damage done and most of the beautiful homes were still standing. In fact, only one mansion had been hit by a cannonball and had gained notoriety from that...I highlight this only to illustrate that the historical background against which this story is set is an important part of the book.

After all, the war had affected the south more than any other part of America and the people who lived there had been permanently affected by the laws that occurred thereafter.

Oh yes, the laws had changed, but by the time of this story, the real world of the south had changed little...racial issues and tension are very much a part of this story, but it is, for me, more a tale of good and evil. Evil does not recognize race, it uses anybody who is willing to succumb to the mightiest temptation of all...Power... African Americans had no power. That was tradition. They were there to serve but mostly they were there not to be seen, except, of course, when the white master of the plantations desired to use the women for their own pleasures...

Clay Moore, who now was managing editor of the Macon Tribune and Journal, was having nightmares. Worse, he would wake in the mornings and find bits of news clippings scattered across his bed. He was so upset that he broke off his relationship with his lover because he couldn't trust what was happening. But even after she returned her key, the clippings continued to appear each morning. He was rattled, not just because these pieces of paper were appearing, but because they were pieces of his own work--articles that he had written years ago about murders that had occurred but that had never been formally resolved.

Clay was a good man, a solid journalist and with his past being literally thrown in front of him nightly, he began to reconsider all that had occurred. One thing he knew was that much of what he had written about had never been published--those in power had prevented it. But now things were happening, bits and pieces were starting to unravel and now Clay was the one they were looking toward for information!

Clay had seen the Federal Judge, who had sent the Marshals after him and dragged him into court, in action before. He remembered that the same Judge had kidnapped the lawyer of the accused man and forced him to ignore lawyer-client privilege. How? He had arrested both the lawyer and his wife! Now this judge was after Clay...

But there was another journalist who was also watching the story and seeking the truth. If I followed his lineage correctly, he was a descendant of Obadiah Royal who ironically had killed a former owner of the Macon Tribune and Journal during the Civil War. Now, Jimmy Royal, editor of The Voice, a weekly Black newspaper, who had been turned down for a position at the MTJ, was in a position to publish what Clay had never been able to! He started by writing about Clay Moore's arrest!

There are enough clues along the way for mystery lovers to begin to piece together and start responding to the possibilities of what actually happened. Harvey throws many of them right at us, while others are hidden just as much as how those pieces of paper were being left for Clay! Just how did this paper puzzle fit together?

Other reviewers may dwell on the racial issues in Harvey's book. They are indeed powerfully presented and reflect problems that, for many, still exist in today's world! This information is an important historical complement to the book. However, for me, the power of the courts, of our judges, was newly presented and revealing... and, I must admit, that was what left me wondering... Just as I know there are still many racially tense issues to be addressed today, are there also still those power-hungered court officials alive and quietly living and ruling people's lives?

For many reasons, this book is a must-read! It is a wonderfully suspenseful novel that stands strong in the mystery genre. I look forward to seeing more of Harvey's work for this reason alone! For the social issues he raises, they are unnerving. I hope Jimmy Royal and Clay Moore reveal more in the future! It's way past time for the truth to rule!


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