When Cicadas Cry

A Novel

By Caroline Cleveland (Author)


Pub Date 5/7/2024

ISBN 9781454952312

Format Paperback



When Cicadas Cry

A Novel

by Caroline Cleveland
In this stunning debut by a South Carolina attorney, Zach Stander, a lawyer with a past, and Addie Stone, his indomitable detective and lover, find themselves entangled in secrets, lies, and murder in a small Southern town.

A high-profile murder case—A white woman has been bludgeoned to death with an altar cross in a rural church on Cicada Road in Walterboro, South Carolina. Sam Jenkins, a Black man, is found covered in blood, kneeling over the body. In a state already roiling with racial tension, this is not only a murder case, but a powder keg.

A haunting cold case—Two young women are murdered on quiet Edisto Beach, an hour southeast of Walterboro, and the killer disappears without a trace. Thirty-four years later the mystery remains unsolved. Could there be a connection to Stander's case?

A killer who's watching—Stander takes on Jenkins's defense, but he's up against a formidable solicitor with powerful allies. Worse, his client is hiding a bombshell secret. When Addie Stone reopens the cold case, she discovers more long-buried secrets in this small town. Would someone kill again to keep them?

Ideal for fans of mystery, suspense, and thrillers in the vein of Karin Slaughter's Pretty Girls and Stacy Willingham's A Flicker in the Dark, as well as for readers who followed the high-profile Murdaugh murder trial, held in the same small town as in When Cicadas Cry.
“A page-turner of a whodunit that delves deeply into themes of social justice, personal responsibility, and the right to love whom you choose. . . . Life-altering revelations and astute social commentary abound, vexing and enticing characters and readers alike with each new discovery and divulgence en route to the biggest secret of all. The result is a gratifying debut populated by a memorable cast of Lowcountry characters, several of whom seem primed to return in future crime-solving adventures. Cleveland’s novel is destined to appeal to book clubs, the members of which can debate when and if they solved the mystery, and to readers devoted to Southern legal dramas overtly in the lineage of To Kill a Mockingbird.”
—Post and Courier

“Cleveland weaves all of these elements—the good old boys, the Spanish moss, the quirky beach dwellers, the faux-friendly neighbors, and the small-town preachers—into her murder mystery in a way that will have many Lowcountry readers mumbling, ‘Oh I know that place.’”
Garden & Gun

“When Cicadas Cry is a powerful debut novel. Cleveland weaves her knowledge of her native Lowcountry South Carolina and the legal system to create a gripping story with fully fleshed characters and a twisty plot that’ll satisfy all readers of murder-mysteries and thrillers.” 

“John Grisham meets Harper Lee in this immersive and thought-provoking Southern legal thriller. Caroline Cleveland’s talented storytelling propels this realistic tale of secrets and history, combined with the power of contemporary passion and prejudice. The setting is authentic, the characters relatable, and the story propulsive and engaging. Standing ovation for this brilliant debut!”
—Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author of One Wrong Word

“A twisty narrative of secrets and lies, I flew through When Cicadas Cry in a day. A haunting case from the past. A racially tinged murder in the present. And a small South Carolina town about to erupt like a powder keg. Equal parts courtroom thriller and gripping mystery.”
—John McMahon, author of The Good Detective

“Cleveland sets the tension bar high.”
Deadly Pleasures Magazine

“Cleveland has jotted down nearly 350-pages of exactly what she knows—and done it grippingly. . . . Engrossing.”
—Charleston City Paper -

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Caroline Cleveland is a labor and employment lawyer. A native South Carolinian, Caroline grew up in the Lowcountry and earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1991. This is her first novel.


Title Details

Pages 336 pages

Trim 5.5 x 8.25 x 0 Inches

Territories WENG

Category Fiction

Carton Quantity 33