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Steven Wright Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Coyotes of Carthage (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Steven Wright is a contemporary thriller and suspense author that is best known for his debut novel “Coyotes of Carthage.” Outside of his writing endeavors, Wright is a University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School clinical associate professor and a co-director of the Wisconsin Innocence Project. Before becoming a professor, he worked as trial lawyer at the United States Department of Justice in the Voting Section. Among his many writings include numerous essays on criminal justice, race, and election law the latter of which he did for “The New York Review of Books.” While he has made quite a name for himself as a writer, he did not get the response he expected from his parents when he first announced that he intended to become an author after graduating from Duke. They were less than enthusiastic about his career choice as they told him that he would be gambling his life away as the probability of making a success of it was very low. However, he comes from a family of scientists, and hence it is understandable that his parents were scared of the idea of someone writing fiction and making a living from it. Steven Wright published “The Coyotes of Carthage” in 2020 and the novel has gone on to become a bestseller and garner critical acclaim.

Even though Steven Wright finally fulfilled his dream of becoming an author, his path there took a roundabout path. His parents had finally managed to convince him to find a job and go to law school. His first job was with the Department of Justice (DOJ) where he worked as he attended Washington University in St Louis law school. At the DOJ, he was involved in the redistricting of the country using demographics. Among his duties was to prevent voting districts from being created to put racial minorities at a disadvantage. He was part of the team that did the redistricting of Georgia and spend a lot of time with Stacey Abrams who then the state representative. While he was working for the DOJ, he still dreamed of one day becoming an author. He used to attend open houses at the Johns Hopkins University Washington DC campus, which is where he learned that they had a creative writing program. He graduated from Hopkins with an MA and soon after got into UW-Madison, one of the most highly regarded MFA programs in the country. According to the author, the training providing close mentoring, attention, and overall and intensive experience that made him the writer he is today. Toward the tail end of the program, he began writing the manuscript for his debut novel drawing inspiration from his work with the Department of Justice. He then wrote the novel six days a week over four years after which he secured an agent and soon after had several houses bidding to buy it. The novel was published in 2020 and he has already sold the TV rights to it too.

“The Coyotes of Carthage” is significantly impacted by Steven Wright’s real-world experiences after college, particularly the time when he was involved in voting rights litigation for the DOJ. Instead of making his lead character something of a crusader like he was, Wright wrote the character as a person with a crisis of conscience operating on the dark side. However, he shares several characteristics with his protagonist including the penchant for making many smartass retorts. He has always loved reading about antiheroes and hence while the guys fighting for justice may be an interesting proposition, what is even more interesting is when the bad ones do evil and then wrestle with the morality of their actions. However, while the novel deals with some timely and weighty topic, Wright also intended to entertain his audience. For a novel that is mainly about exposing how dysfunctional the American political system is, the book is hilarious.

Steven Wright’s “The Coyotes of Carthage” is the story of Dre Ross, a man who has one shot left. He is one of the most successful political consultants but he has been too aggressive which has put him at cross purposes with Mrs. Fitz his boss. She had saved him from a juvenile center and mentored him into what he was today. But she now sends him to the countryside of South Carolina weighed down with $250,000 meant to grease hands that will facilitate the introduction of a ballot initiative that is being sponsored by a mining company. The company wants the locals to vote to sell some prime public land to a shell corporation. When Dre arrives in the flag-waving and God-fearing Carthage County with no one but Brendan the grandson to Mrs. Fitz as his teammate, he knows he has his work cut out. He is an outsider and even worse an African American who would be useless in collecting the signatures required. He gets Tyler and Chelene Lee a blue-collar couple to be the face of the initiative. Directed by the cynical Dre, what is essentially a land grab is dresses as a righteous fight for liberty and faith. As lives are ruined and lines are crossed, Dre knows that his actions threaten his humanity and the soul of the County. It is a piercing portrait of the unraveling of one man and the fragility of American democracy.

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