It is 1973. A small college town in Southern Illinois is terrorized by a spree of sadistic assaults. The rapist tells the victims-all Asian women-that he is making them pay for America's betrayal in Vietnam. When the only other Black faculty member is accused of the crimes African American philosophy professor Nathan "Ribs" Rivers struggles to suspend his doubts about his colleague's innocence.
Rivers reluctantly yields to the urgings of his students and takes up leadership of a campus coalition formed to advocate for a fair trial. Professor Rivers embarks on a vision quest for the truth that is as much about his character as it is about the crimes-a quest that threatens to topple his family and career ignites in him a spiritual crisis and plunges him headlong toward lethal unknowns.
Dr. Jay Richards is a forensic psychologist and expert witness with over thirty years of experience in diagnosing managing and studying psychopaths sex offenders and mentally disordered offenders. His fiction explores how people (normal and disordered alike) make choices in a world that is simultaneously predetermined and stultifying-unpredictable and dangerous. He believes that task of fiction is to create and share a vision of the world that is worthy of humanity.
"Dr. Nathan Rivers is the central figure in this nail-biting novel that revolves around students and faculty in a small Midwest college in Oakton Illinois in 1972. Rivers is a black philosophy professor who carries an antique walking staff (actually a Botswanan thornkerrie hand-carved in the 1890s). Rivers is considered somewhat eccentric-a jazz musician who frequently quotes T.S. Eliot and Milton in the early morning hours before shutting down the Ale Begotten Pub. Rivers has a daughter with an attractive white artist with whom he has lived for many years to the annoyance of some of the white faculty. All of this is just a backdrop to a terrible crime with racist implications that places Rivers in a position where he feels forced to provide legal counsel for an accused colleague implicated in the crime. Rivers puts his job on the line while he tries to uncover the motives and find the criminals who committed the crime. Based on actual crimes that occurred during the mid-1970s the novel is a can't-put-down story that keeps you glued to Rivers and his fight for justice." -Jack Burns Spring 2014 ed. Chicago Life Magazine
"Masterfully written. sinister and sympathetic characters come alive in this thrilling can't-miss novel that kept me in suspense through the last sentence." - Larry Gossett Seattle politician and former Black Power Movement activist.