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Klavern: A Sherry Russell Thriller

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT meets DELIVERANCE meets THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE. During a 1967 Ku Klux Klan uprising ex-Nashville-PI Sherry Russell is drawn into the investigation, in rural Alabama, of the “Lavonia Massacre”—a heinous racial hate crime counting amongst its victims the brother and pregnant sister-in-law of Sherry’s African-American housekeeper. Sherry takes the case partly as a respite from her burly husband’s increasing pressure to start a family, the prospects of motherhood as daunting to this Betty Friedan disciple as facing down Klan killers, wielding chains, and baseball bats, even live rattlesnakes and the odd Tommy gun. One of the murdered Negroes, Montie Collins, was a sharecropper charged with killing a white farmer after an open-and-shut investigation by the bigoted local sheriff. When Sherry’s fresh feminine perspective deftly clears Collins of the earlier killing, the Klan’s justification for the Massacre is lost, threatening the machinations of a megalomaniacal Imperial Wizard. Suddenly square in the Klan’s crosshairs Sherry picks her way along a dangerous trail—aided by a grizzled civil rights reporter, and an eight-fingered Klan preacher—to more murder, a ruthless Klan bombing, and an FBI counterintelligence operation run unconstitutionally amok. But when the lead agent needs a woman to infiltrate a big Klan rally, a blown cover strands Sherry at ground zero of a race war to end all race wars.