The Coyotes of Carthage

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 Apr 2020

Member Reviews

I was very fortunate to have gotten an advance reader’s e-proof of The Coyotes of Carthage from HarperCollins.  I found this debut novel totally absorbing and its main character, Toussaint Andre Ross (Andre/Dre) extremely complex and compelling.  Andre, incarcerated in Juvie for 2 years for a crime he didn’t commit, is “adopted” at age 20 by Mrs. Fitz, the 70+ year old sole founding female partner of a political consulting firm.  She has been a second mother to Andre for 15 years and served as a mentor who brings him along in the firm where he has achieved some success, at least financially.  Then his pride and recklessness goes too far in his management of an election campaign, bringing embarrassment to the firm.  As a result, Mrs. Fitz, instead of firing him, assigns him to a 13 week secret corporate-financed campaign in a small South Carolina town that they both know is “rubbish” but could save his career. 

Along the way, we meet his intern/assistant, Brendan, with whom he forms an unlikely bond, and a cast of town locals who add color and voice to the narrative.  He runs a “textbook dark-money campaign—a case study in street-corner democracy” that is manipulative and damaging.  It illustrates how today’s political actions can cause a community and its people potential harm, in this case through a land grab that only benefits big business.It’s also a stark reminder of what we see today, i.e.:  “God bless social media, good for pictures, bad for truth.” Mr. Wright touches on today’s issues but doesn’t preach.  

His characters totally drive the story. I found myself rooting for Andre. HIs many flaws are offset by his redeeming qualities.  He is empathetic yet ruthless; self-destructive but somehow bent on survival.  He is also witty, charming, and very likable.  I rooted for him all the way and ached as he saw himself in the coyote—“small and vulnerable, a man beat down and alone”. This was a great read and I look forward to more from Steven Wright.
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I didn’t rate it highly on goodreads because it seemed flawed at the time. After some time though I have looked back on it with fondness. Some of the overwrought characters are more believable with time and perspective. Just because the protagonist was a crummy character doesn’t make it a crummy book. Unique take in common practice.
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This is pretty engaging once it gets going. It lacks the polish of a more experienced author, but still pretty good. It's a little dark and centers around politics. Hopefully the author has more in the works. 3.5 stars.

I really appreciate the ARC for review!!
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Good writing, and a very solid first effort.   In this depressing climate, though, not for me.  Protagonist had an interesting back story, but kind of a jaundiced world view and took a while to get rolling.
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The Coyotes of Carthage by Steven Wright, does have elements of Grisham and I feel that others will enjoy it. Simply felt lacking to me but thank you for giving me a chance with it.
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When I started this book I was intrigued about the story of a successful political consultant, Dre Ross, who is down on his luck and sent to Carthage to help fix an election. This book is fast moving and introduces some interesting characters that the author develops very nicely.  I was very happily surprised by the writing quality and plot. I look forward to reading more from this author and hopefully a continuation of this story arc. 
Thank you Netgalley, Steven Wright, HarperCollins Publishers and Ecco for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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