Praise for Dead Weight

“Batt Humphreys brings both a reporter’s gift for research and a novelist’s imagination to his vivid recreation of 1910 Charleston and one of the city’s most shameful episodes of racial injustice. ”

                                                  RON RASHNew York Times bestselling author of Serena

“A stunning story, masterfully told. This is historical sleuthing with a journalist’s eye: real people and a real tragedy. ”

                                                   HARLAN COBENNew York Times bestselling author

“Compelling and satisfying, Dead Weight, is a moving historical novel, a heart pounding legal thriller and a poignant love story. Batt Humphreys debuts with a memorable and beautifully written book which illustrates the triumph of the human spirit against all odds. ”

                                                    MARY JANE CLARKNew York Times best selling author of It Only Takes a Moment 

Dead weight

by Batt Humphreys

2010, 224 pages
isbn-13: 978-0984107346
Trade Paperback
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ISBN-13: 978-0981873565
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South Carolina Humanities Award

2010 IPPY Gold - True Crime

2010 Benjamin Franklin Award Winner

2010 SIBA Award Finalist

2010 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year finalist

Dead weight

by batt humphreys

In one of America's most beautiful cities, an ugly crime has been committed. Based on events that took place in Charleston, South Carolina a hundred years ago; Dead Weight tells the story of the murder of a Jewish merchant, the black man accused of the murder and the white populace primed for a hanging. Into these real events, steps a fictional character. A reporter from New York is assigned to cover a story with would seem to be a fait accompli. The outsider's view of Charleston just after the turn of the century, still clinging to a cultural past and caught in the racial realities of the time, brings a Menckenesque perspective to a plot that is anything but a simple tale of racial wrongdoing.

Through the narration of Hal Hinson, we see the beauty of Charleston, the ugliness of the racial divide and a struggle, through the transcripts of actual court testimony, between two lawyers for the life of a man accused of murder. The reader also comes to know the real character of the accused – Daniel Cornelius “Nealy” Duncan who was the last man hanged by the state of South Carolina.

Batt Humphreys, a Georgia native, began a career in television news in Charleston in the early 80s. His career took him to CBS News in New York where he spent 15 years, most as a senior producer, before leaving to return to his beloved South. He managed the coverage of many of the events that have shaped our lives over the past quarter century, including the first hours of the morning of September 11, 2001, several wars, elections and as a reporter covering hurricanes, executions and more murders than he cares to remember. Humphreys and his wife Laura currently live on a farm outside Charleston. Dead Weight, his first novel, is based on a true story.

about the author