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Standing at the Scratch Line
by Guy Johnson
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375756671, Paperback)King Tremain, the badass central character of Guy Johnson's Standing at the Scratch Line, was born LeRoi and grew up in the swampy Louisiana bayou during the first part of the 20th century. It is only when he serves overseas during World War I, however, that LeRoi comes to appreciate the majesty of his name. As he should: fighting in the front lines with the "colored" 369th, LeRoi earns the title King. King takes his soldier's stance home with him and throughout his life kills whoever gets in his way, be they Italian mobsters or policemen. Not one for morals or rational contemplation, he lives by the code he relays to his army buddies during the war: "I just got two rules: be courageous and don't take no shit!"
In the course of tracking King's life, Standing at the Scratch Line crosses cities and decades--from New York to New Orleans to Oakland, from the teens to the '40s. King becomes a wealthy man, largely thanks to the opportunities presented by Prohibition. Handsome and strapping, he easily wins the heart of a Louisiana farm girl, Serena, who becomes his wife. Unfortunately, their love doesn't last long--even though the marriage does--because of tragedies involving their sons, for which he blames his wife. In King, Guy Johnson offers a character who responds aggressively to his time and place in history. He is a man of menacing proportions, with a justice system all his own. --Katherine Alberg
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:14 -0400)
Raised in the steamy bayous of New Orleans in the early 1900s, LeRoi "King" Tremain, caught up in his family's ongoing feud with the rival DuMont family, learns to fight. But when the teenage King mistakenly kills two white deputies during a botched raid on the DuMonts, the Tremains' fear of reprisal forces King to flee Louisiana.
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