From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller "Devil in the Grove" comes a gripping story of sex, race, class, corruption, and the arc of justice. In December 1957, Blanche Bosanquet Knowles, the wealthy young wife of a citrus baron, is raped in her home while her husband is away. Journalist Mabel Norris Reese and an inexperienced young lawyer pursue the case, winning unlikely allies and chasing down leads until at long last they begin to unravel the unspeakable truths behind a racial conspiracy that shocked a community into silence. "A small town. A big secret. In December 1957, the wife of a Florida citrus baron is raped in her home while her husband is away. She claims a 'husky Negro' did it, and the sheriff, the infamous racist Willis McCall, does not hesitate to round up a herd of suspects. But within days, McCall turns his sights on Jesse Daniels, a gentle, mentally impaired white nineteen-year-old. Soon Jesse is railroaded up to the state hospital for the insane, and locked away without trial. Crusading journalist Mabel Norris Reese cannot stop fretting over the case and its baffling outcome. Who is protecting whom, or what? She pursues the story for years, chasing down leads, hitting dead ends, winning unlikely allies. Bit by bit, the unspeakable truths behind a conspiracy that shocked a community into silence come to the surface. Beneath a Ruthless Sun tells a powerful page-turning story rooted in the fears that rippled through the South as integration began to take hold, sparking a surge of virulent racism that savaged the vulnerable, debased the powerful, and roils our own times still."--Dust jacket.