Tag Archive for: David Baldacci

Can a Book Effect Change?

Good Monday morning. The Stiletto Gang is a group of authors that touch mostly on marketing, the craft of writing, the concept behind our books and/or the genre of what we’re writing. Last week, two of our authors didn’t just touch on a topic, they challenged it and downright addressed the world’s most serious problems.

I respect Linda Rodriguez and TK Thorne immensely. If you haven’t read their two recent blogs, I urge you to do so:



In these blogs, T.K. addresses our relatively young existence in the grand scheme of existence, then writes about humankind’s struggle to fight tribalism and inhumanity. Linda addresses violent massacres against innocents brought on by hatred and racism.

Linda closes out her blog with:

“As writers and readers, we have the power to change this terrible racist rot at the heart of our society. We simply have to muster the courage to insist on truthful, varied portrayals of real human beings, the courage to reach outside of segregated suburbs to learn about people who are not just like us, the courage to call out false, bigoted remarks and portrayals when we encounter them. Let us be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem, actively or passively. Let us bring our society closer to the ideals we claim for it.

Writers shape the way our nation sees the world. Let us shape that perspective with truth and empathy.”

The blog unfortunately didn’t allow for comments, and I had a few.  I also was reading a novel at that time that if Linda’s blog had been an assignment to discover such a panacea, I would recommend David Baldacci’s A Calamity of Souls.

Before I give my thoughts on A Calamity of Souls, I’ll point to what I consider a significant problem(s) in Linda’s thoughtful prose.

  • Would an inherent racist ever read and/or recognize themselves in an author’s pages? And if they do, would they simply rebel and slam the book down?
  • Even though I’m associated with many talented and remarkable writers, the second issue I find with Linda’s plea is the problem of “discoverability.” A few–maybe many–might read and be empathetic and leave positive feedback, but would they have the power to effect change?

Occasionally, an author pens a book that does just what Linda is encouraging us to do. Moreover, that same author has name recognition and a following that may in effect, educate and allow people who may not even consider themselves racist to take the proverbial good look in the mirror.

I believe David Baldacci’s A Calamity of Souls is such a book. I believe this novel may be fated to become a classic in its own right and his most successful of his already thriving career.

Though brilliant A Calamity of Souls is not a fun read. It’s also incredibly hard to put down.

Here’s the back cover blurb:    

Set in the tumultuous year of 1968 in southern Virginia, a racially-charged murder case sets a duo of white and Black lawyers against a deeply unfair system as they work to defend their wrongfully-accused Black defendants in this courtroom drama from #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci.

Jack Lee is a white lawyer from Freeman County, Virginia, who has never done anything to push back against racism, until he decides to represent Jerome Washington, a Black man charged with brutally killing an elderly and wealthy white couple. Doubting his decision, Lee fears that his legal skills may not be enough to prevail in a case where the odds are already stacked against both him and his client. And he quickly finds himself out of his depth when he realizes that what is at stake is far greater than the outcome of a murder trial.

Desiree DuBose is a Black lawyer from Chicago who has devoted her life to furthering the causes of justice and equality for everyone. She comes to Freeman County and enters a fractious and unwieldy partnership with Lee in a legal battle against the best prosecutor in the Commonwealth. Yet DuBose is also aware that powerful outside forces are at work to blunt the victories achieved by the Civil Rights era.

Lee and DuBose could not be more dissimilar. On their own, neither one can stop the prosecution’s deliberate march towards a guilty verdict and the electric chair. But together, the pair fight for what once seemed impossible: a chance for a fair trial and true justice.

Over a decade in the writing, A Calamity of Souls breathes richly imagined and detailed life into a bygone era, taking the reader through a world that will seem both foreign and familiar.

(I pulled the following quotes off Amazon.)

















I could leave my own review, but I guess I just did.  A #1 Bestseller with already 16,671 ratings on Amazon, I recommend A Calamity of Souls to everyone to understand what ignorance is and what hate can become.

Thank you, Linda. Your words impacted me at a time I was already being deeply impacted. I can only pray your vision and dreams come true.

Can a book effect change?  In a word, Yes.