Date of Award

5-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

English

Committee Chair

Charlotte Pence, Ph.D.

Abstract

On the same day that James Anderson’s wife files for divorce and full custody of their two sons, his estranged brother Ken is arrested for murder. Making matters even more complicated is the victim of Ken’s alleged heinous crime, Skye Davis. Not only is Skye’s father Bill Davis the Republican candidate in the 2004 North Carolina Gubernatorial race, but he is the former mayor of James' hometown of Gastonia. The Davis family has run Gastonia for years, having owned the mill the city was built around a hundred years before. Everyone is in Bill’s pocket, and this doesn’t exclude James, whose career-defining case is tied directly to Gastonia’s most powerful family. As the evidence stacks up against Ken and a hefty murder one charge amounts, James’s own dark vice ridden personal life becomes a public spectacle - endangering any chance of split custody in his divorce trial, and potentially causing disbarment. As James builds both cases, he realizes that the only chance he has is to dig deep into a shared traumatic past only he and Ken understand. Can their childhood trauma help save Ken from capital punishment? Will it threaten James’s own chances at remaining a father? For James, the man has come around, and he has left him with a choice, one that will force him to make a decision with multiple lives at stake.

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