Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9926552-5-9 / E-book ASIN: B00JYBISXM
Kansas City, 1935. Emmett Whelan, an idealistic county prosecutor who has left behind his Irish roots and married into the country club set, takes on the city’s corrupt political machine when he investigates the brutal murder of a black musician.
As Emmett probes the case and meets another outsider, a black jazz singer Arlene Gray, he discovers the city’s underbelly of racism and criminality. His personal life deteriorates. The closer he gets to the heart of the corruption, the more he sees that it is deeper and closer than he has ever suspected. And when the truth unfolds – about the killings, the machine, Emmett’s wife – a surprising and devastating climax reverberates at every level of the city.
Reach the Shining River is an urban crime drama about money, race, and class. Tense and full of memorable characters, it has the smell of a big river, the atmosphere of 1930s America, and a soundtrack that is pure jazz and blues.
Cover image by Keith Mallett
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About Kevin Stevens
“It is a measure of the book’s achievement that the consequences of their actions are both poignant and wholly in keeping with the inexorable laws of a world resurrected by Stevens’s fluid prose.” —Three Monkeys Online
“Not only a solid murder mystery, but equally a colourful and thought-provoking study of a moment in time. With the rhythm and cadence of the prose, echoing the blues soundtrack that underscored the whole book, Stevens easily achieved that balance between crime fiction and literary fiction due to his exceptional characterization and engaging prose.” —Raven Crime Reads
“It is a bleak vision of the segregated society, greed and economic despair that rings very true. Reach the Shining River is superbly plotted and suspenseful, haunting and chilling. […] The tone of the novel is beautifully reinforced by the painful and poetic lyrics of the blues that infuse this gritty Noir.” —NB Magazine
“There is a bluesy, jazzy ebb and flow throughout the novel. Swirling and dipping in language and imagery. While reading it I often had music by Billie Holiday, Bud Powell, Lester Young, and Bill “Count” Basie playing across the room, the music supplementing the rhythm and phrasing of the writer’s words.” —Marvin Minkler, Modern First Editions
“Reach the Shining River impressed me in both the quality of its prose and the vividness of its place. Reading the novel, you are shunted back to another time: a time of corruption, of small-town politics, and the blues. (…) The novel is compelling and highly readable without being formulaic. A terrific read – I was hooked from the start.” —Readers’ reviews