What is considered a crime in the jaded twenty-first century might pass for nothing in 1930 and this is apparently what happened when aspiring political candidate Earl Swanger ended up dead next to a bridge in rural Texas while on his way to a campaign event. Contemporary news stories revealed stab wounds explained away, meandering witness accounts, and a rush to judgment. Then the story simply disappears from the news. Modern eyes easily detect conspiracy and coverup, and the fact that witnesses were kept quiet and anonymous. Harmon Creek results in a story that is part In Cold Blood, part Red Harvest, and part Dateline episode. This tale is about much more than a single murder. It touches on racial injustice, and emphasizes the fact that people in power will go to great lengths to protect themselves. Yes, it is crime fiction, but it is likely much closer to the truth than the results at the time indicated.
Candidate Swanger’s family always thought it was murder, pure and simple, and after reading Harmon Creek, you very likely will too.