When hog thief Junior Junior Milam is found brutally murdered, the police of Money, Mississippi, are stumped. When his cousin is found dead in the same gruesome fashion, it’s time for the MBI—the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation—to step in.
Special detectives Ed and Jim expect resistance from the local sheriff, the coroner and a string of racist White townsfolk. What they don’t expect is an inexplicable mystery: at each crime scene a second dead body was found—that of the same Black man. A man who looks eerily familiar.
As similar murders are reported from Illinois to California, the detectives seek answers from a local root doctor who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years, uncovering a history that refuses to be buried.
Provocative, fast-paced and morbidly funny, The Trees is an urgent novel of lasting importance, from an author with a finger on America’s pulse.
‘Gruesome, spooky, hysterical and unapologetic—an absolute tour de force by a writer who needs to be heard.’
‘Everett has mastered the movement between unspeakable terror and knockout comedy.’
‘[The Trees] blends Everett’s wit with elegy and solemnity.’
‘With a highwire combination of whodunnit, horror, humor and razor-blade-sharp insight, The Trees is a fitting tribute of a novel: hard to put down and impossible to forget.’
‘The Trees is a wild book: a gory pulp revenge fantasy and a detective narrative…[It] is just as blood-soaked and just as hilarious as Inglourious Basterds or Django Unchained, but it comes with more authentic historical weight for being set in a dreamlike counterpresent.’
‘Based in real history…Everett’s motivation for writing the novel becomes clear [as] a reminder that America’s history isn’t just history [and] ridicules the idea that America can be separated from its history of racism…Very punchy, very funny.’
‘This book is explosive in every way! An absurdist play on murder mystery and ghost stories where the crime scene is history itself, the story culminates in a modern day reckoning with America’s racist past and present. The surprise is that it is also laugh-out-loud funny.’
‘Percival Everett approaches genre like a veteran card shark does poker: methodically patient, rarely playing the same hand twice. His books—30 and counting—are full of ambition and mystery, each one of them sustained by a sense of existential wonder.’
‘The Trees is a strange genre mash but one with a serious and disturbing point to make…While the narrative is often wild, irreverent and comical, Everett pauses to remember [lynching victims] and the places where they suffered…Often laugh out loud funny, [and] also deeply contemplative and powerful.’
‘This mordantly funny, twisted police procedural is both knockabout and deadly serious; a Booker-shortlisted page-turner that aims to make its reader stop short…Taking direct aim at America’s collective amnesia, this scabrous, rumbustious satire should appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen and Colson Whitehead, but is boldly original.’
‘[The Trees] is such a sharp book you could cut yourself on it. Violent, funny and smart.’
‘Everett does not pull punches…Novels such as [The Trees] are vital. Shining a light, raising awareness, revealing the darkness of the past…A brilliant novel with a powerful message.’
‘Radical invention characterises Percival Everett’s devastatingly absurdist The Trees…It weaponises the genres of horror, comedy and detective fiction to lay open the history of lynching.’
‘Incredible…A very clever book that I could not put down!’
‘A bitingly funny, boldly satirical, deadly serious tale of racism and the legacy of injustice.’
‘Deftly combining humour and horror, [The Trees] by LA author Percival Everett offers a page-turner of a story alongside a thought-provoking satire about racism, past and present.’