The 1960s saw the rise and fall of leaders who promoted civil rights on behalf of vulnerable populations. Most notably were President John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These leaders stood before the American public, despite the threat to their lives, reputation and careers as agents of hope for the future of not just black America, but for that of the country as a whole. However, not all is black and white. Both of these leaders were assassinated in their prime. Both left a legacy in which others were inspired to join the civil rights movement or to continue forward with this arduous task. Other leaders who were considered more grassroots, such as Medgar Evers, were also assassinated for daring to challenge the racial status quo. However, there were other leaders that may not have been of the highest hierarchy. Leaders who often blended among the masses. These were not just organizers of protests, but were also fellow protestors themselves. They stood side by side their fellow civil rights advocates. They shouted slogans of freedom. They held bullhorns, and even without they yelled from the depths of a heartfelt plea, hoping that someone who had the power and influence in the great halls of legislation would respond. Their work was worthwhile and produced results. The U.S. government enacted multiple iterations of the Civil Rights Act addressing institutionalized discrimination, whether in education, housing or employment. However, there would be a long road ahead before many of these laws would have any practical effects, whether in these enumerated circumstances or with society at large.
Then there were those who self-appointed themselves as leaders amongst the oppressed. They heard the words of the demonstrators. Yet their motives were not of an altruistic nature. They used the plight of certain peoples to prop themselves up, to further their ego; in essence as a form of self-aggrandizement. These sorts of persons manifest in varying forms. They do not truly seek the betterment of the oppressed, but rather the uplift of their name or reputation. This all the while standing on the shoulders of whom they claim to represent at the fore. There was one such woman during this era who was married to a detective. Her name was Margaret.
The story begins with murder. Civil unrest and civil strife were the sparks which ignited these demonstrations. During the daylight hours these detectives investigated crime, whether it is petty theft, stalking, harassment, or murder. Detective Jacqueline Thompson and Detective Sebastian Johnson are assigned murder cases that occurred during recent protests. They visit the scene at the back of the old Woolworth's building with Jacqueline's British husband, William, in an unmarked vehicle. She tried to convince her husband not to accompany them. William violates her work protocol and thankfully so. Someone tosses a Molotov cocktail where they stand. The building begins to collapse. Brick, mortar, and other forms of debris break loose and descend, rumbling; finding their way to soft flesh to cut, maim or perhaps fatally wound. Jacqueline's husband rescues her. Her station house partner suffers a coma. Johnson eventually awakens. He recalls the disturbing notions his wife had concerning racial identity. It is later revealed that his wife, Margaret, was also present at the scene but died—and it was not from the explosion. Thompson returns to work and faints at the station house. Lieutenant Davidson orders her on sick leave. Her husband, William, cares for her. Mark Anderson, another detective, furthers their murder investigations. From his hospital bed, Johnson convinces one of his cousins to retrieve a book from his house. The detective is aloof and does not disclose to anyone what he saw before the explosion. Jacqueline deduces a portion of it. Davidson investigates the blast. Anderson convinces Davidson of a plan to implement at the next local protestors' meeting in order to catch the culprit. In a separate room from the main meeting hall, shots are fired. Screams, disorder permeate the scene. Jacqueline navigates her way through the disheveled crowd. She enters the side room. One man lies on the floor from a gunshot wound. Jacqueline shoots another. Not all is what it seems. Later on, Thompson visits her partner, Johnson again at the hospital and urges him to disclose what he has withheld. Sebastian finally admits what he knows about Margaret, though Thompson began to unravel some of the mystery herself. She thought she could stand on the shoulders of the vulnerable, yet it was she who fell before them. Her true intent became known among the masses. Her true intent was now known and not much sympathy lied in the wake of her death. The detectives resolve their cases as a team. Jacqueline decides that building her life with her husband and focusing on their future is more important at this stage in her life. Jacqueline resigns. She and William receive exciting news. Jacqueline and her husband begin the next chapter of their life, knowing that they will be together always.
Murder By Dissent is now available for purchase as an ebook from these online retailers:
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About the Author: Patricia M. Muhammad is an American fiction author who writes in science-fiction/fantasy, fantasy, contemporary romance crossover, historical romance and mystery/detective romance genres. She has written 20 novels. When she is not writing she enjoys genealogical research and landscape photography. Patricia is currently based in the United States.
Connect with Patricia:
Social Media: @pmmuhammadbooks
Press: [email protected]
**CONTENT WARNING: Mild note: The protagonist and her husband share intimate moments-often. Although there is only mention of legs, arms, embraces and kisses, the remaining descriptions I use allegory and references to nature to describe their intimacy. This may be considered mild to moderately "Steamy" depending on the potential reader's inclination.
Moderate to severe discretion (abridged): This book is a work of fiction. However, the author intended to create characters and settings historically accurate to the era it takes place in, the racially tumultuous 1960s. Certain terms used as racial descriptions now considered archaic, outdated or even offensive are used to reflect the past usage by both black and white Americans of that era.
Additional note: A portion of the main plot revolves a pivotal scene in which a few people are injured due to an explosion which destroys a building. This notice is to advise those who may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD") concerning traumatic events based the recollection of certain sounds or the imagery which may encompass them both.