A reckoning with the persistence of evil in post–Civil War Atlanta
On the eve of Atlanta’s 1881 International Cotton Exposition, disgraced former detective Thomas Canby is called back to the city to track a serial murderer who seems to be targeting its wealthiest black entrepreneurs. The killer’s method is both strange and unusually gruesome: on each victim’s body, a letter of the alphabet is inscribed.
Intent on shielding the city’s celebration of New South industry, its most prominent businessmen—“the Ring”—pressure Canby to tie up the case. Paired with Atlanta’s first African American officer, Cyrus Underwood, Canby must face down enduring racism, and his own prejudices, to see clearly the source of these bloody crimes. Meanwhile, if he can restore his reputation, he might win back the woman he loves.
With scrupulous attention to historical detail, Edgar Award finalist Matthew Guinn draws readers into a vortex of tense, atmospheric storytelling, confronting the sins and fears of both old South and new.
Praise for THE SCRIBE
Kirkus Review says The Scribe is "an intricately woven page-turner whose subtext of class and racial animus ingrained in the American psyche reinforces James Joyce’s assertion of history being the true nightmare from which it’s impossible to awaken."
Publisher's Weekly notes "the richness of the characters and period detail make the prospect of a sequel welcome."
Bookpage says "Few writers seem to understand the difficult balance between historical detail and suspense better than Edgar Award finalist Matthew Guinn. His second novel, The Scribe, is a master class in historical mystery."
“Matthew Guinn is the real thing: a Southern literary craftsman who knows how to write a thriller. Do yourself a favor and read him." —Greg Iles, New York Times best-selling author of Natchez Burning
"Matthew Guinn makes the reader realize that the present is an extension of the past, and our predecessors are not our predecessors but are us. The Scribe is a remarkable book and hard to put down."
—James Lee Burke, New York Times best-selling author of the Dave Robicheaux series and two-time Edgar Award-winner
“Matthew Guinn possesses a voice that thrives on imagery and honesty, the kind of voice that is necessary to bring the imaginative world to life. THE SCRIBE creates a nightmare, penetrates the darkness, and balances ever so nimbly between the surreal and the physical worlds. Yet there is hope, always hope, and you'll follow that light at the end of the tunnel to see where Guinn will take you.”
—Michael Farris Smith, author of Rivers
“Talk about turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, Matthew Guinn nails turn-of-the-twentieth-century Southern history. Guinn captures the look and feel of Georgia perfectly. It’s a whodunit with a twist—a heady mix of history, sizzle, punch, and danger. A definite keeper.”
—Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author of The Patriot Threat
Matthew Guinn's debut novel The Resurrectionist was an Edgar Award Nominee for 2014. It was also nominated for the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Achievement Award in Fiction and was longlisted for the Crook's Corner Book Prize.
The Resurrectionist tells the story of Nemo Johnston, one of many Civil War-era "resurrectionists" responsible for procuring human corpses for doctors' anatomy training. More than a century later, Dr. Jacob Thacker, a young medical resident on probation for Xanax abuse and assigned to work public relations for his medical school's dean, finds himself facing a moral dilemma when a campus renovation unearths the bones of dissected slaves--a potential PR disaster for the school. Will Jacob, still a stranger to his own history, continue to be complicit in the dean's cover-up, or will he risk his entire career to force the school to face its dark past?
To learn more, listen to Matthew in an MPB radio interview here or a Memphis radio interview with Stephen Usery here.
BOOKS BY MATTHEW GUINN