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Larry M. Arrowood
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Retired county sheriff Harry Weatherholtz has returned to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley to live out his final years. But a despicable crime soon forces Weatherholtz out of his peaceful retirement.
The court system has placed two African-American orphans, young Eddie and his teenage sister, Miss Ann, in the care of the vicious Hurley Cutshaw. The community looks the other way as Cutshaw treats the orphans like chattel, subjecting them to a life of neglect and abuse-abuse which culminates when he forces Eddie, who can't swim, into a deep lake to retrieve a fifty-cent fishing lure. Eddie drowns while Cutshaw sits on a stump and watches.
Weatherholtz zealously urges current County Sheriff Flin to investigate the supposed accidental drowning as a homicide, and to push for a grand jury investigation. Although Sheriff Flin resents Weatherholtz's meddling at first, the two eventually join together in an audacious attempt to shut down Cutshaw's child-labor racket. In the process, they realize that the crime does not implicate Cutshaw alone. Its roots run deep, drawing on a hate that drives the hearts of those in the highest positions of power.
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