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The House That Sugarcane Built
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The Cottoncrest CurseThe Cottoncrest Curse

A Novel

Michael H. Rubin

Narrated by Neil Holmes

Available from Audible

Book published by Louisiana State University Press

The bodies of an elderly colonel and his comely young wife are discovered on the staircase of their stately plantation home, their blood still dripping down the wooden balustrades. Within the sheltered walls of Cottoncrest, Augustine and Rebecca Chastaine have met their deaths under the same shroud of mystery that befell the former owner, who had committed suicide at the end of the Civil War. Locals whisper about the curse of Cottoncrest Plantation, an otherworldly force that has now taken three lives. But Sheriff Raifer Jackson knows that even a specter needs a mortal accomplice, and after investigating the crime scene, he concludes that the apparent murder/suicide is a double homicide, with local peddler Jake Gold as the prime suspect.

Assisted by his overzealous deputy, a grizzled Civil War physician, and the racist Knights of the White Camellia, the Sheriff directs a manhunt for Jake through a village of former slaves, the swamps of Cajun country, and the bordellos of New Orleans. But Jake’s chameleon-like abilities enable him to elude his pursuers. As a peddler who has built relationships by trading fabric, needles, dry goods, and especially razor-sharp knives in exchange for fur, Jake knows the back roads of the small towns that dot the Mississippi River Delta. Additionally, his uncanny talent for languages allows him to pose as just another local, hiding his true identity as an immigrant Jew who fled Czarist -Russia.

Michael H. Rubin’s The Cottoncrest Curse takes readers on the bold journey of Jake’s flight within an epic sweep of treachery and family rivalry ranging from the Civil War to the civil rights era, as the impact of the 1893 murders ripples through the twentieth century and violence besets the owners of Cottoncrest into the 1960s.

Michael H. Rubin practices law and is a former professional jazz pianist. He is also an adjunct law professor and nationally known legal ethicist and humorist who has given over 375 major presentations throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.


“A gripping debut mystery .... Rubin has created a convincing, if unsympathetic, examination of the Old South.”

Publishers Weekly

“Told in brisk chapters that bounce among multicultural characters and across years, Rubin's novel offers not just a thrilling murder mystery, but also a compelling look at life in south Louisiana during its most tumultuous decades.”


“In The Cottoncrest Curse, Michael Rubin takes his readers on a compelling multi-generational journey that begins with the Civil War and ends in the present day. The Cottoncrest Curse is a textured story of plantation owners, the descendants of slaves, small-town Louisiana law enforcement, and Jewish merchants who live in and around a Louisiana plantation. Impeccably researched, deftly plotted, and flawlessly executed, The Cottoncrest Curse moves effortlessly from the Civil War to the 1890s to the Freedom Riders. Rubin is a gifted and masterful storyteller. Highly recommended.”

—Sheldon Siegel, author of the Mike Daley/Rosie Fernandez novels

“Michael Rubin proves himself to be an exceptional storyteller in his novel The Cottoncrest Curse. The powerful epic is expertly composed in both its historical content and beautifully constructed scenery. I highly recommend picking up this book to catch a glimpse into life and conflict during the height of the Old South.”

—James Carville

The Cottoncrest Curse introduces us to a fresh new voice that weaves talented prose and tack-sharp detail into an intriguing story set in Louisiana’s bayou country. In an historically accurate whodunit that spans multiple generations, Rubin adroitly tackles cultural diversity, racial tension, and the dangers of keeping hidden truths while moving the plot toward a satisfying, well-crafted conclusion.”

—Alan Jacobson, national bestselling author of Spectrum

All titles are published by:
University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks