THE PROMISE OF THE PELICAN, Roy Hoffman

10 March, 2022

For fans of Harper Lee and Rita Mae Brown, Roy Hoffman’s new novel is steeped in a sense of place–coastal Alabama–with its rich tapestry of characters caught in a web of justice not for all.

“Roy Hoffman has written a fast-paced, mesmerizing and incredibly moving contemporary novel about human and civil rights,”– bestselling author Lee Smith

At once a literary crime novel and an intergenerational family drama, The Promise of the Pelican (Arcade Crimewise, March 2022) is set in the multicultural South, where justice might depend on the color of your skin and your immigration status. Hank Weinberg is a modern day Atticus Finch, recently retired as a defense attorney in Mobile, Alabama, and a Holocaust survivor, who fled the Nazis as a young child. With his daughter in rehab, he’s now taking care of his special needs grandson. Mourning his dead wife, spending mornings fishing on the pier with other octogenarians, he passes the rest of his days watching over his sweet grandson with the help of Lupita, a young Honduran babysitter. When her brother Julio, an undocumented immigrant, is accused of murder, Hank must return to the courtroom to defend him while also trying to save his daughter and grandson’s life from spinning out of control. The Promise of the Pelican takes its title from the legend that a pelican will pierce its own breast for blood to feed its starving chicks, a metaphor for one old man who risks all to save the vulnerable.

In a crisp prose style Harper Lee called “lean and clean,” Hoffman writes from an enormous well of compassion. He fills his new novel with a cast of finely drawn characters of all ages and abilities facing life’s harshest challenges and rising to meet them with dignity.

“A thrilling novel, with characters as memorable as those of Shakespearean tragedy…I could not put it down.” –Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife  

“Though a murder is at the center of this masterly novel, Roy Hoffman is most interested in writing about people; the best of us and the worst of us, how we feel, how we think, how we act, how we react in a crisis. In The Promise of the Pelican, Hoffman weaves an extraordinary tale of heartache and pain, of people desperately trying to connect, trying to make sense out of the senseless, ultimately asking whether true justice is possible in an imperfect world.”–Charles Salzberg, twice Shamus nominated author of “Second Story Man” and the Henry Swann series

“With The Promise of the Pelican, Roy Hoffman secures his place alongside the great American writers from the Deep South — Robert Penn Warren, Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, Lee Smith, and Harper Lee.  Our best novels transport and transform us, and The Promise of the Pelican does that and more. The story is compelling, the writing is elegant and economical, and every scene poignant and powerful. You can feel the heat of the Deep South, the tensions throughout, and the hope of a better world that gives meaning and life to his characters.” — Michael J. Gerhardt, distinguished professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Law School, and author of Lincoln’s Mentors:  The Education of a Leader.

Roy Hoffman is the award-winning author of the novels Come LandfallChicken Dreaming Corn, and Almost Family, and nonfiction Alabama Afternoons and Back Home. He has written essays for the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal and was a journalist and speechwriter in New York before returning south. He has reviewed numerous works for the New York Times Book Review and is on the faculty of Spalding University’s Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing. A native of Mobile and Tulane University graduate, he resides in Fairhope, Alabama.