When legendary high school football coach Bud Crisler returns to his tiny hometown of Oakdale, Mississippi, pundits around the state think he’s lost his mind. But his no-nonsense approach is wildly successful, as Oakdale embarks on a streak of six straight state titles and routinely knocks off much larger schools. He’s the toast of the town, his beloved alma mater having reclaimed its spot as king of the hill. But Crisler has two big secrets. And one powerful enemy.
Gary Quinn, now an Oakdale police officer, was swiftly cut when he tried to make Crisler’s first team. Not only does he hold a grudge, he carries the torch for his late father, a man who was harassed by Crisler and his pals in high school a generation ago. Quinn, who uses his badge to intimidate, plots revenge when he learns of Crisler’s skeletons and tightens the screws just before a crucial playoff game. Crisler is left to fear for his safety as well as that of his players, coaches, and wife during the contest.
More than just a tale of extortion and football, Judgment Day introduces a highly diverse group of people who are all at crossroads in their lives and facing monumental choices and decisions. Everybody knows everybody’s business in the small town of Oakdale, and the whirlwind of events which brings them together on a cold, winter night will link them forever…not only in tragedy, but in triumph of the human spirit.
“Judgment Day is an opera of South: aging football players, alcoholic hairdressers and crooked cops. Joe Lee understands how deep buried secrets and teenage memories can boil in the pressure cooker of a Southern male and can soon turn to violent consequences. His best novel to date.”
—Ace Atkins, author of the Robert B. Parker Spenser series
“A winning read.”
—Susan O’Bryan, The Clarion Ledger
“It grabs you on page one and never lets go.”
—Ben Douglas, The Northside Sun
“What really sells this New South soap opera is Lee’s ability to bring his cast to life with such clarity and grit.”
—J.C. Patterson, The Madison Herald
“Lee knows how to tell a uniquely southern story, while keeping the reader guessing until the very end.”
—Jim Fraiser, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
“Small town football, dirty policemen, grudges, buried secrets … Mississippi native Joe Lee gives us a little bit of everything in Judgment Day. A fun read and worth a look.”
—Karen Gilder, Portico Magazine