JoJo Marshall
February 14, 2014 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Secret of Magic

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Deborah Johnson
publisher
Putnam
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

You can almost hear the rustle of Spanish moss and the clink of ice cubes in glasses of sweet tea in Johnson’s novel, which captures the duality of the Jim Crow South. When a black war hero is murdered in Revere, Miss., the NAACP sends Regina Robichard to investigate. As Regina navigates Revere with both horror and wonder, Johnson interweaves her story with a novel by a local matriarch, steeping the reader in town mythology. Regina’s voice can seem naive, but Johnson makes up for it with her rich portrayal of Revere and its inhabitants. A-

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