Created by George Dawes Green
“There are too many live oaks dripping with too much Spanish moss…”
The quote that kicks off this page comes from young Black bartender, Jaq, who’s trying to video a crime scene for her MFA application project. She’s just one of the many colourful locals that populate The Kingdoms of Savannah, a sprawling and fast-paced 2022 novel that’s crammed with enough Southern tropes (and Savannah local colour) to make Tennessee Williams blush.
The central figure holding it all together is MORGANA MUSGROVE who’s inherited her late husband’s struggling detective agency. Not that the feisty widow’s a natural born gumshoe or anything. She’s a sharp-tongued and manipulative high society matriarch of one of Savannah’s most prominent families, more blue blood than bloodhound.
She’s also used to getting her way, with a definite opinion on almost everything, including the way things should be. And so when a much-loved (or at least tolerated) homeless drunk, Luke Kitchens, is murdered, and all fingers point to sleazy local slumlord, Guzman, the defiant Morgana decides work for his defense, and public opinion be damned.
She’s counting on a big bucks windfall (the family needs the money, but you didn’t hear it from me), and one by one she finagles various members of her family into assisting her, including her rebellious son Ransom, an idealistic lawyer who reluctantly agrees to defend Guzman, and Jaq, her Black granddaughter.
Ambitious, literate and soaked to the gills in local colour and history, Green offers an engaging and layered update on the New South, both eye-opening and kick-ass funny. As Alexandra Jacobs in The New York Times Book Review puts it, it’s “Southern Gothic without the bitter aftertaste.”
- “A chilling southern thriller with a definite Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil vibe.”
— People Magazine
- Around these parts, the publication of a new George Dawes Green novel is an event. … Green leans all the way into Southern Gothic, but the main grotesquerie is the city’s history, built on the backs of enslaved people. His prose is languid, even luxurious, but at critical moments of suspense, he pares it back to ramp up the terror.”
— New York Times Book Review
- “Edgar Award winner Green delivers a gripping and expertly researched Southern literary thriller that is anything but cozy. Most powerful is the novel’s exploration of contemporary social issues like homelessness, privilege, and familial legacies built from slavery. Through masterful storytelling, Green turns the quaint and eclectic tourist town of Savannah into a character as conflicted and complex as the rest of the novel’s ensemble.”
— Kirkus Reviews
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.