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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Black American Lawyer’s Debut Forensic Mystery Novel that Dissects Race in America is an International Hit

— “Severed, A Novel” by VL Towler receives critical acclaim from international indie book review site, BookViral.com —

— The Seacoast African American Cultural Center will be co-hosting Towler’s reading and book signing at River Run Bookstore in Portsmouth, NH on Sunday, June 26, 2016 at 2pm. —

Severed A Novel


Dover, NH — Stephan J. Myers of BookViral, a United Kingdom-based review site for independent publishers, recently reviewed VL Towler’s debut forensic murder mystery entitled Severed, A Novel and declared it a “genuine page-turner.” Using descriptions such as “vibrant and compelling,” “authentic,” and with “wonderfully-nuanced characters,” BookViral credits Towler, a Black American lawyer, for enunciating “the intricacies of forensic anthropology” while “weaving multiple narratives through an imaginative and richly layered plot.”

Here’s the synopsis:

Dismembered fingers. Lives cut short.

And the end of tranquility in a small Louisiana town. Set in a contemporary rural pocket of Northwestern Louisiana, Nakadee is a [fictional] university town with a population under 15,000, a mix of Blacks, Cajuns, Creoles, and Whites, whose ancestors have lived there for several hundred years. While trapped in its relative remoteness, the population is thankful for the town’s quiet refuge, purposefully wishing to live their lives in the slow lane. Its denizens are more interested in its annual Hot Dog Festival than in the lives of an eccentric celebrity writer and his business partner living in the “Hollykook” house.

Dr. Lula Logan, a Black-American northerner teaching forensic anthropology at the local university and researching the stories buried in the graves of local slaves, is reluctantly drawn into an investigation by her ex-boyfriend, a detective, regarding a severed finger left at the Police Department. As the investigation deepens, Lula’s life will intersect with an enigmatic Black-Republican politician, a precocious teenage wanna-be rapper, and one of her Confederate-flag-waving students. Everybody is connected in Nakadee, which leads to intriguing alliances and a conspiracy of silence among those with something to hide.


Towler’s novel touches upon the issue of who controls the depiction of black culture, and explores to what extent we sacrifice the greatness of our history and culture for the price of fame. Towler won a Screenwriting Fellowship with the Writers Guild of America East Foundation, and sued a filmmaker for copyright infringement for his [similar] Academy-award-nominated original screenplay, but lost. Towler’s not done talking about it. Although the novel’s setting is in Louisiana, it is partially inspired by events in Portsmouth, NH, where the coffins of Africans were unearthed during a municipal dig, resulting in one of the only contemporary American memorials to our African ancestors.

It can be purchased in print and as an ebook on Amazon.com and other online book retailers. For more details about the book, visit www.severedanovel.com


About the Author
Towler worked in Washington, D.C. as an attorney with the Justice Department Criminal Division Office of International Affairs. Conversational in Spanish, French, Cebuano, and Cambodian, VL has lived in the Philippines, Thailand, and England, and has traveled to Brazil, Nigeria, Canada, Jamaica, Belgium, Italy, and Sweden. Towler is now a New Hampshire attorney, available for lectures, book readings and signings, and radio interviews. Her first book reading will be at the River Run Bookstore in Portsmouth, NH, on June 26th and will be co-sponsored by the Seacoast African-American Cultural Center.


Carmen Buford-Paige, Ph.D.
(603) 740-6021