Book 1 in the Will Lee series
Stuart Woods (1981)
During the bitter winter of 1920, the naked body of an unidentified teenaged boy is discovered in a wooded area of a small Georgia town. There is no direct evidence of murder, but the body bears marks of what seems to be a ritual beating.
The investigation falls into the inexperienced hands of the newly appointed chief of police. His intelligent, obsessive hunt for the boy’s tormentor begins a story that ultimately weaves through decades of deceit, hatred, perversion, and political drama that inexorably envelops the lives of two other chiefs — one himself a murderer, the other hiding a secret that, if revealed, might destroy not only himself but also the promising career of a rising political figure.