After the breakthrough success of 2012’s Freeman, Leonard Pitts returns with an even richer, more complex, and more suspenseful story—one that takes on the past four decades of US race relations through the stories of two veteran journalists, a superstar black columnist and his unheralded white editor. The novel ricochets between two eras: 2008, when a senator from Illinois stands on the verge of history, and 1968, when Martin Luther King confronts his troubled last campaign in Memphis. Disillusioned, weary, and outraged by yet another report of an unarmed black man gunned down by police, Malcolm Toussaint writes a column so incendiary that his editor, Bob Carson, rejects it—but Toussaint uses Carson’s password to hack into the newspaper’s computer system and publish it anyway. Then he mysteriously disappears, and Carson, left to take the fall, is fired. Furious and bent on revenge, Carson tries to find Toussaint while dealing with the sudden reappearance of his one true love from his days as an activist. Meanwhile, Toussaint has been kidnapped by a pair of unlikely-yet-dangerous white supremacists who plan to bomb Barack Obama’s victory speech in Grant Park. As Election Day unfolds, Toussaint and Carson are forced to confront the choices they made as idealistic, impatient young men, when both their lives were changed by their work in the civil rights movement. Forty years later, they face an explosive opportunity to make peace with their respective pasts.
Leonard Pitts, Jr. is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, in addition to many other awards. He is also the author of the novels Freeman (Agate Bolden, 2012) and Before I Forget (Agate Bolden, 2009); the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009, Daily Triumphs, Tragedies, and Curiosities (Agate Bolden, 2009); and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood (Agate Bolden, 2006). Born and raised in Southern California, Pitts now lives in suburban Washington, D.C., with his wife and children.