Fifty years later, the surviving son hires Red to revisit the crime and track down the killer. As he begins his cold-case probe, uncanny coincidences emerge from a key witness and old interview files. He follows a lead to Cleet’s hometown of Damville and its polluted Cracker Town area and discovers two brothers prone to violence are the ones speaking up the loudest against Cleet. But where is he? Cleet hasn't been seen since his 1973 release. Red believes the man is still alive and knows who the real killer is but finding both proves challenging.
Red's going to need more than old investigation files and DR. Goings's clinical notes if he's going to solve this cold case.
Five days before, Cleet tried hitching a ride after walking three miles down the road from the state mental hospital.
Nobody slowed for him. Nobody stopped.
In fact, most drivers sped up to get past the newly released inmate. Not that they knew he was one. They didn’t. They just assumed anyone thumbing a ride so near the Milledgeville state mental hospital might not be a suitable driving companion.
Cleet knew this. He’d escaped three times, and no drivers stopped for him on those occasions either. Except this day was different as he had a legal release. Still, no one even braked, let alone give him a ride to south Georgia and a visit he needed to pay before heading on down the road.
The memories haunted Cleet. Arrested for killing a woman…the lunacy board…the mental hospital. All the time, he kept mum.
After all those years, a superior court judge ruled in Cleet’s favor and set him free. Seems another man bragged to a Georgia prison cellmate he’d killed young women in South Georgia around the same time Cleet was accused.
Cleet knew the man had lied, at least where Mitsy’s killing was concerned. He didn’t know why Mitsy died, but if he had stabbed her to death—which he didn’t—it was because she wouldn’t pay him for the Bible. Not that the debt in itself was a reason to kill anyone. Cleet told his Aunt Gladys, who visited just after the hospital admitted him. Years later, Gladys hired a lawyer. Eventually, Cleet got cut loose.
Now, he was a free man.
Cleet’s release befuddled him more than anyone else.
Still, he said nothing. To nobody. No way.
About the Author
W.F. Ranew writes the Red Farlow Mysteries series from Tirgearr Publishing, the latest of which is book five, Cracker Town.
Ranew is a former newspaper reporter, editor, and communication executive. He started his journalism career covering sports, police, and city council meetings at his hometown newspaper, The Quitman Free Press. He also worked as a reporter and editor for several regional dailies: The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, The Florida Times-Union, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He lives with his wife in Atlanta and St. Simons Island, Ga.