I would like to thank Susan Moldow and Louise Burke for giving me the most supportive home in publishing that one could imagine in the twenty-first century. I also thank Colin Harrison-a kindred spirit, gifted writer, and sympathetic editor-for his work on this book. Many thanks also to Sarah Knight, the Harvard girl, who acted with unerring efficiency as my liaison to the house, and who also provided some wonderful details for the book.
Special thanks to Aaron Priest, who knows this business like nobody else. “Who loves ya, baby?”
I owe a special debt of gratitude to Nick Sayers, my incomparable British editor at Hodder and Stoughton, who chose quality over commerciality and confirmed my instinct that this was the story to write next.
Thanks also to Ed Stackler, who has journeyed with me through every book from frenzied inception to ragged completion, when all I can think about is the next one. Thanks again, man.
As ever, I have relied upon many generous individuals to bring verisimilitude to my story.
For legal and law enforcement details: Chuck Mayfield, Mike Mullins, George Ward, Tim Waycaster, Jim Warren, Ronnie Harper, Debra Blackwell, and Scott Turow.
For stories about the city of Natchez: Tony Byrne, Charles Evers, J. T. Robinson, Don Estes, Guy Bass, and David Browning. My thanks to Reverend Dennis Flach for his insights into the philosophy of funeral ceremonies. Special thanks also to Ben Hillyer for his wonderful photograph of the Turning Angel. Ben has the gift of seeing things in a different way, thus transforming reality. That makes him an artist.
For insight into the black leadership crisis, the works of Cornel West.
For medical advice: Jerry Iles, M.D.; Simmons Iles.
Special thanks to Courtney Aldridge, Jane Hargrove, Jack Reed, and Geoff Iles. Thanks also to the “kids” who spoke frankly about life in a modern high school. Most of us have no idea what they deal with every day.
No matter how I try to avoid it, there’s at least one factual mistake in every book. I absolve everyone mentioned above for those mistakes and take the blame myself.