A Calamity of Souls

A Calamity of Souls

Unabridged — 14 hours, 28 minutes

A Calamity of Souls

A Calamity of Souls

Unabridged — 14 hours, 28 minutes

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Notes From Your Bookseller

David Baldacci is a mystery mastermind, and here he takes it closer to home than ever before. A Calamity of Souls is based on his own childhood during the desegregation of the South. Blending the personal connection with his usual dose of dynamic characters and propulsive plot makes for a read that will win over new fans and continue to endear him to his usual readership.

Set in the tumultuous year of 1968 in southern Virginia, a racially-charged murder case sets a duo of white and Black lawyers against a deeply unfair system as they work to defend their wrongfully-accused Black defendants in this courtroom drama from #1¿New York Times¿bestselling author David Baldacci.¿

Jack Lee is a white lawyer from Freeman County, Virginia, who has never done anything to push back against racism, until he decides to represent Jerome Washington, a Black man charged with brutally killing an elderly and wealthy white couple. Doubting his decision, Lee fears that his legal skills may not be enough to prevail in a case where the odds are already stacked against both him and his client. And he quickly finds himself out of his depth when he realizes that what is at stake is far greater than the outcome of a murder trial.
Desiree DuBose is a Black lawyer from Chicago who has devoted her life to furthering the causes of justice and equality for everyone. She comes to Freeman County and enters a fractious and unwieldy partnership with Lee in a legal battle against the best prosecutor in the Commonwealth. Yet DuBose is also aware that powerful outside forces are at work to blunt the victories achieved by the Civil Rights era.¿¿
Lee and DuBose could not be more dissimilar. On their own, neither one can stop the prosecution's deliberate march towards a guilty verdict and the electric chair. But together, the pair fight for what once seemed impossible: a chance for a fair trial and true justice.

Over a decade in the writing, A Calamity of Souls breathes richly imagined and detailed life into a bygone era, taking the reader through a world that will seem both foreign and familiar.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


Bestseller Baldacci’s stirring latest (after Simply Lies) finds Black Vietnam veteran Jerome Washington on trial in 1968 Virginia for murdering Leslie and Anne Randolph, his married white employers and two of the most prominent citizens in fiercely segregated Freeman County. After washing the Randolphs’ Buick, Jerome entered their house to get his weekly pay, only to find their bloody corpses on the floor. He tried to “help them out,” he says, by moving them off the ground, but just as he was propping Anne up into a chair, the police arrived and placed him under arrest. Certain of his innocence, Jerome’s grandmother-in-law reaches out to Jack Lee, a local white criminal defense lawyer, who agrees to take the racially charged case despite his lack of experience with murder trials. Feeling immediately out of his depth, Jack teams up with Desiree DuBose, a Black attorney at the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund; together, they work to save Jerome from the electric chair. Baldacci generates satisfying tension from Jack and Desiree’s clashing personalities, and his real-life experiences both as an attorney and as a child in 1960s Virginia lend the proceedings an air of uncommon authenticity. This ranks among the author’s best. Agent: Aaron Priest, Aaron M. Priest Literary. (Apr.)

From the Publisher

"A Calamity of Souls by David Baldacci is the immovable object of history slamming into the irresistible force of truth. An examination of a fractured place and time where the mores of the past were confronted by the implacable ferocious tenacity of justice. A tour de force."—S. A. Cosby, bestselling author of ALL THE SINNERS BLEED and RAZORBLADE TEARS

A Calamity of Souls, the story of a murder in southern Virginia in the mid-1960’s, may be the best novel David Baldacci has ever written, which is saying a great deal.  It has a gripping plot and a shocking ending, and even better than that, is also a perfect evocation of a difficult time in America’s history, propelled by deep and moving characters and beautiful writing. It captured me completely from the very first page.”—Scott Turow, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

"This is David Baldacci at his best. Using the law and the courtroom as the stage for a searing parable on race and the cost and courage to do the right thing."—Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Baldacci deftly weaves together legal thriller and historical drama—a tale of high tension, false assumptions and stubborn humanity, where the law is a crucible for who we imagine ourselves to be and how much effort still lies ahead.”—Stacey Abrams, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“A high-octane legal thriller anchored by a family drama that will break your heart.”—Ken Follett, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“From its disturbing opening onwards, I couldn’t stop turning the pages, fascinated, moved, horrified. Packed with a richness of detail and prose so evocative it works like a time-machine, effortlessly transporting you to a troubled time in U.S. history; with characters that linger in the mind long after you have finished the book. An instant classic, I will be recommending this to everyone I know. Not just a great American crime story; this is a great American novel.”—Alex Michaelides, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“David Baldacci vividly recreates Virginia in the throes of the civil rights movement, when the laws had moved forward, but the people had not. A Calamity of Souls is a big-hearted page-turner about fighting for what’s right in a world filled with wrong.”—Jeannette Walls, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“This is the book David Baldacci was meant to write. Of course it’s filled with rich characters and a mystery at its core, but what makes this novel such a standout is the way Baldacci pours his own past into it. Terrifying, dazzling, and a true reckoning, A Calamity of Souls is a time machine that proves the Civil War never ended—and that the only way out is together.”—Brad Meltzer, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"A Calamity of Souls is a modern masterpiece, a court room drama set in 1968 in a divided Virginia, a fraught powder keg in the American south. A young, inexperienced white attorney, Jack Lee, and his client, Jerome Washington, a hardworking black man beloved by his family, is falsely accused of murder. Jerome is in a fight for his life in a courtroom where he has been condemned before the gavel hits. This page turner is resplendent, timely and surprising, written in glorious prose that will captivate and enthrall readers. Nothing in Jerome and Jack's world is what it appears to be. There are secrets, and a shocking buried history among the families trapped in a legal system calcified in racism. In Baldacci's hands, this story is personal and the reader feels its urgency. This lustrous, atmospheric novel takes us back and moves us forward in one riveting read. An instant classic from America's favorite storyteller."—Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author

"Baldacci on top form - a tragic, gripping and intensely believable thriller."—Peter James, Sunday Times bestselling author

"Bestseller Baldacci’s stirring latest... generates satisfying tension from Jack and Desiree’s clashing personalities, and his real-life experiences both as an attorney and as a child in 1960s Virginia lend the proceedings an air of uncommon authenticity. This ranks among the author’s best."—Publishers Weekly

“A nuanced portrait of a time and place, brought to vivid life by a writer at the top of his game… Ever-popular Baldacci at his best will have his legions of readers flocking.”—Booklist

MAY 2024 - AudioFile

Powerful, enlightening, and entertaining are some of the superlatives that might come to mind as listeners are transported to the world of trial attorney Jack Lee in Virginia in 1968--brought to life by a uniformly outstanding cast. Narrator MacLeod Andrews uses accent, tone, and pace to masterfully portray Lee and the other white male characters. Lee partners with attorney Desiree DuBose, skillfully voiced by Sisi Aisha Johnson, who also performs the other female African American characters. Cary Hite does an outstanding job portraying the male African American characters, while Kiiri Sandy expertly voices the white female characters. In his author's note, Baldacci shares the autobiographical elements of this story and its current relevance. E.Q. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2024, Portland, Maine

Product Details

BN ID: 2940159236364
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication date: 04/16/2024
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 200,024
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