A sharp and urgent debut from a gifted young lawyer and fiction writer
THE COYOTES OF CARTHAGE
by Steven Wright
Ecco, April 2020
*Sold in a four-way auction for six figures*
Toussaint Andre Ross has one more shot. Despite being a successful African-American political consultant, his aggressive tactics have tarnished his firm’s reputation. Now his boss and mentor Mrs. Fitz, who plucked him from juvenile incarceration and shepherded his career, is exiling him to the boondocks of South Carolina with $250,000 of dark money to introduce a ballot initiative on behalf of a mining company. The goal: to manipulate the locals into voting in favor of the sale of pristine public land to the highest bidder.
Dre arrives in God-fearing, flag-waving Carthage County, an area America’s New Economy has left behind, with only Mrs. Fitz’s well-meaning yet naïve grandson Brendan on his « team. » A local is needed as a strawman to collect signatures, and Dre hires blue-collar couple, oafish Tyler Lee and his pious wife Chalene, to act as the initiative’s public face.
Under Dre’s cynical direction, a land grab is disguised as a righteous fight for faith and liberty. As lines are crossed and lives ruined, Dre’s increasingly cutthroat campaign threatens the last remnants of his own humanity and the very soul of Carthage County.
A piercing portrait of our fragile democracy and one man’s unraveling, THE COYOTES OF CARTHAGE may very well be the political novel of our times.
STEVEN WRIGHT is a clinical associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School, where he co-directs the Wisconsin Innocence Project. From 2007-2012 he served as a trial attorney in the Voting Section of the United States Department of Justice. He has written numerous essays about race, criminal justice, and election law for the New York Review of Books. Steven is a 2014 graduate of the MFA program at the University
of Wisconsin-Madison and holds a Masters of Arts in Writing from the Johns Hopkins University.