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The Committee

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Professor Tom Stall’s career and life are threatened when a nefarious government-affiliated group of men begin investigating the private acts of innocent people in late 1950s Florida.

Forthcoming: 1/7/20

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What people are saying…

The Committee is a triumph of historical fiction—and a warning from our past. Sterling Watson swiftly and elegantly anchors the reader in an era that many would love to forget, and then reminds us of the humanity within the history. Watson is the rare writer who can address the big ideas—politics and power, love and hate, fear and freedom—without ever losing sight of the characters at the story’s heart.”
—Michael Koryta, New York Times best-selling author of How It Happened

“Timely and pertinent to today’s cultural and political climate, this historical-fiction accounting of the persecution of gay people by the state in the 1950s reveals a part of Florida’s past that sowed prejudice against our community for decades. This is a must-read.”
—Gale Massey, author of The Girl from Blind River

Praise for Suitcase City by Sterling Watson:

“The telling is masterful . . . Sit back and enjoy Watson’s latest. It’s better than bourbon on the rocks.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Hypnotically beautiful novel . . . Paranoia has been defined as ‘seeing too much pattern.’ Author Watson can make us sweaty victims of that madness, partaking of it, suffering from it, and loving every minute.”
Booklist, starred review

“The novels of Sterling Watson are to be treasured and passed on to the next generation.”
—Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River

“Watson’s magic is in pacing and taut prose . . . Suitcase City is an absorbing thriller, a vivid adventure in a bright, humid, perilous underworld . . . [A] tense, bloody thriller with a strong sense of place and a soft heart.”
Shelf Awareness, starred review


Description

The Committee is set in a sleepy late 1950s Florida university city. Its characters—professors, students, townspeople rich and poor, and politicians—are both typical of such a place and unusual, even bizarre, for the challenges they face and the changes they undergo when their lives are suddenly disrupted by the nefarious workings of a shadowy group of men, The Committee, who use the powers of government and the police to investigate and reveal the most private acts of innocent men and women.

This is a story of love, both licit and hidden, war, friendship, betrayal, compromise, and finally the necessity to stand firm against the encroachments upon freedom by men who believe they do God’s and the government’s righteous work. Set against the backdrop of political turmoil and the clash of classes and cultures—Southern, academic, patrician, and demimonde—The Committee pits protagonist Tom Stall, scholarly, ambitious, and rising in his world of teaching and administration, against two men and a woman—a colleague, a university president, and an old friend turned deadly enemy—in a struggle for the soul of a town, a university, and an ideal.

Tension and suspense build with crushing inevitability as hidden forces and unforeseen events threaten Stall’s career and finally his very life.


Book Details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Published: 1/7/20
  • IBSN: 9781617757686
  • e-IBSN: 9781617757822
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617757839

Author

STERLING WATSON is the author of seven novels, including Deadly Sweet, Sweet Dream Baby, Fighting in the Shade, and Suitcase City. Watson’s short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Prairie Schooner, the Georgia Review, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, and the Southern Review. He was director of the creative writing program at Eckerd College for twenty years and now teaches in the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College in Boston. Of his sixth novel, Suitcase City, Tom Franklin said, “If this taut literary crime novel doesn’t center Sterling Watson on the map, we should change maps.” Watson lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Committee is his latest novel.

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