On the eve of his execution, eighteen-year-old Willie Jones sits in his cell in New Iberia awaiting his end. Across the state, a truck driven by a convict and his keeper carries the executioner's chair closer. On a nearby highway, Willie's father Frank lugs a gravestone on the back of his fading, old mule. In his office, the DA who prosecuted Willie reckons with his sentencing, while at their gas station at the crossroads outside of town, married couple Ora and Dale grapple with their grief and their secrets. Moving from voice to voice, Winthrop elegantly brings to stark light the story of a town and its injustices. The Mercy Seat is an intricately layered and incisive novel from one of our most acute literary observers.