The Last Matriarch: Day of the Robin by David L. Simmons is a slow-brewing suspense thriller set in the Black community of High Point, North Carolina. The Matriarch of the community, Johnnie Mae Dixon, guides the children with her foresight and wisdom. Her daughter, Sylvia, wanted to know what triggered the bootleg war in the fifties. The story then leaps to the fifties, where the underworld businesses were flourishing but not without power struggle and greed. While uncovering the reason for the bootleg war, everyone sees only one side of the story. What if there was another side, a much darker one, waiting to be unveiled?
The Last Matriarch: Day of the Robin is undoubtedly a perfectly structured thriller. It opens with a pitch that creates suspense right away. But the author reveals the circumstances which lead to the opening scene much later. He builds a carefully crafted story before introducing the secrets. The story features a large number of characters. But the author gives space and time to each of them to express themselves. We get to know their hidden intentions as the story progresses. The author gives reasons for their actions and why they behave like that. This way he has molded a close-knit story without any loopholes. He maintains the suspense until the very last page. This clearly made the story way more attractive than others. Not many authors have this ability.
One of the highlights of the story is its beautiful narration. David L. Simmons has a peculiar style of expression. Each scene is painted vividly with attention to the details. He narrates human emotions without losing their intensity. Nobody is perfect here. They all have a strong polished face on the outside with a dark vulnerable side hidden beneath them. Although the main story is about the underworld businesses in the fifties, it also features the Black history and their numerous struggles for a quality life and freedom. Overall, this is an excellent piece of work, providing a very pleasurable experience to its readers.
– The Moving Words Review
Official entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 3, 2022
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