In this thriller out of Faulkner country, Paul Edin and two friends drive from Minnesota to Mississippi to play soldier in a re-enactment of the 1862 Battle of Kirby Creek. Unbeknownst to them, local Mitchell Lee Nickles intends to use the mock Civil War battle as a convenient stage for killing Deputy Sheriff Kenny Beeman. But things go terribly wrong and Paul Edin dies instead.
Back in Minnesota, Paul's widow turns to her former lover, John Rane, for help. Rane is a news photographer who has always preferred to keep other people's problems at lens distance. Now he decides it's time to get involved. Rane goes down to Mississippi and teams up with Deputy Beeman to uncover the truth of the "accident" that killed Paul.
The plot frequently resembles battlefield strategy, and for Civil War buffs, South of Shiloh has plenty of detail on procedure and weaponry. For everyone else, this absorbing thriller is a classic southern drama, where old feuds, traditions, and family entanglements live on. The Minnesotans may be coming down south to explore their identities, but the Mississippians are sure of theirs.