Natchez writer pens fast-paced legal thrillers set in the Delta
by Lynn Lofton
Published: June 12,2011
Lawyer-turned-financial-advisor-turned-writer Michael Henry is causing a stir in Natchez where local readers are responding positively to his first two novels. Mary Emrick, owner of Natchez’s Turning Pages Books & More, couldn’t be more pleased with Henry’s legal thrillers.
“The action is tight, the characters are compelling and well developed and the dialogue flows naturally,” she said. “There is no confusion. You are drawn steadily ahead to endings that leave you clamoring for more. I am ready and waiting for his third Willie Mitchell Banks novel.”
Banks is the author’s protagonist and the last white public official elected in fictitious Yaloquena County in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. As the county’s prosecuting attorney, Banks must prosecute accused murderers in a racially tense environment. In “Three Bad Years,” Banks is called racist for prosecuting a young black mother. A boycott and protest turn into a riot and deadly fire. In “At Random,” the prosecutor seeks the death penalty for El Moro, a narcotics terrorist who is accused of murdering a deputy sheriff. The terrorist’s cartel tries to free him and so does an ultra-violent organization driven by hatred of American and its culture. This group is willing to kill Banks and as many Americans as it takes to bring the U.S. criminal justice system to a halt.
Emrick says the books are easy to read, something a lot of readers want in the summer. “The books are entertaining and fast paced,” she added. “They should appeal to a lot of people.”
Henry hopes to have his third novel published by a major publishing house, a feat that has eluded him thus far. Emrick says the writer has been told by some publishers that even though his material is good, they don’t need more male writers as women buy most of the books sold in this country. “I really, really like his books and hope he will get more recognition,” she said.
Henry is a native of Natchitoches, La., where he served 16 years as a prosecutor, 12 of those as an elected district attorney. He is a graduate of Tulane University and the University of Virginia Law School. He moved to Natchez three years ago and is the owner of Natchez Wealth Management.
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