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Searching for Cool

Searching for Cool / Praying for Heat

Searching for Cool / Praying for Heat is an irreverent novel of love, audacity of youth, and loyalty amidst the sinister world of Southern white supremacy. A family is caught up in a scorched stew of entrenched racism in Legrand, a small North Carolina mill town in 1960.

The New England-transplanted O’Rourke family is horrified when the daughter of a Negro friend is brutally raped. In trying to help her, the O’Rourkes find themselves targeted by the town’s white leadership, the Pharaohs, who take revenge on Brian, the 17 year-old protagonist. Through a shifting POV, we follow the O’Rourkes, as well as the black Miller family, as Brian grapples with love, loyalty, and racist violence.

The original core of this story began as a brief memoir I wrote about my high school years. Although the novel has gone way beyond a memoir, some of the story actually happened.



© 2011 Jon Michael Riley