“The war had proved that much, if little else. A sword of any kind was as likely to cut down the innocent as the guilty, no matter how many monuments man might build to the grandeur of his own self-importance.” (Page 324 of advance review copy without a final cover)
CERTAINTY is an interesting book to be reading during a mid-term election cycle in the US. Although it is storytelling about a specific historic event and documented trial notes, it is about a witch hunt, stalking, name calling and just plain lying about other human beings and changing lives forever. Bevine draws us into defining what is good and evil and whether or not an event will assist us in discerning a truth and finding value for the greater good.
William Bartlett is a young lawyer in 1918 practicing law with a firm in Newport, Rhode Island. 25,000 Naval seamen are in a holding pattern as WWI has ended and most will not be shipped out. This is a huge population jump for such a small community and the prostitutes have arrived in huge numbers also a group of seamen are dying in the Spanish Flu Epidemic. There is no space for the troops and nothing to do and a great deal of drinking and malicious activities occurring in the town center and the YMCA. Reverend Kent is working on developing a Seaman’s Institute and sitting all night with the seamen who are dying, being a caregiver, when he is accused by the 3 Navy men of unseemly acts and homosexual behavior; preying on the men not praying for them.
The church would like Rev. Kent to plead guilty to a lesser charge and then to move him out of town with no fanfare and little publicity. Bartlett and Kent decide to take a moral stand and bring the false accusations out into the open, because Kent is innocent and a very caring individual. What is discovered is that a particularly fervent Naval Officer, who can identify homosexuals and deviant by their walk, sets up a group of 48 seamen to entrap the “fairies” in their midst who are causing all the problems. An earlier round of McCarthyism goes into the history books and a great many men’s lives were altered forever.
“As the trial unveils more shocking secrets – secrets that shake Newport and reverberates all the way up to the federal government”- William Bartlett could lose everything also. (Temporary cover of the advanced copy of the book)
CERTIANTY’s author Victor Bevine, a graduate of Yale University, discovered this trial and story when escaping a downpour by sheltering in a bookstore. He first wrote a play about this event and now has turned it into a novel so that more people will be informed. Bevine is an actor, screenwriter, director, narrator of audiobooks, and sports entrepreneur who resides in NYC.
TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of CERTAINTY to review and I believe that readers who like historic based fiction and military fiction will enjoy diving into CERTAINTY.