I recently read The Kingdoms of Savannah by George Dawes Green. I've never read anything by him before but he's quite famous. He wrote the award winning The Caveman's Valentine, which went on to become a movie with Samuel L. Jackson. He also wrote The Juror, which was an international bestseller and also became a movie, featuring Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin. I have been missing out.
The Kingdoms of Savannah is about a woman that disappears and a man that is found dead. Looking into these ominous events is the Musgrove family. The matriarch is a bit of an investigator and her children have varying degrees of career sucess, lending their talents toward a solution. The book features tons of characters as we are introduced to many citizens of Savannah. Still the reader quickly catches on that while they add to the story, the only characters you really must keep track of are the Musgroves with a couple of exceptions. While the public image, and certainly my image, of Savannah is mint julips in sizable stately old homes, this story explores another side. Green expertly shows us the dark side, the forgotten people, the marginalized. Does it preach about topics, no. It does, however, have a dark, gritty feeling. Atmosphere is a huge part of the story, and it is remarkably well done without "it was a dark and stormy night" type of descriptions. The story was involved yet easy to follow and kept me interested the entire way. A great read that will linger for weeks to come and may have you calling your travel agent. Have a mint julep for me.