Batt spent 30 years managing and covering some of the most important stories of our times. In 2010 he turned to fiction with the release of his first novel, Dead Weight. Dead Weight was the recipient of the 2010 Palmetto Award, the IPPY Gold Medal award, the Benjamin Franklin award and a finalist for the SIBA fiction award and Book of the Year by Foreword Magazine.
In one of America’s most beautiful cities, there’s an ugly crime.
Charleston, South Carolina in 1910 is the scene of a true story. There is a trial in the town, a triangle of animosities. A Jewish merchant murdered, a black man accused and a white populace primed for a hanging.
Into real events, steps a fictional character.
A reporter from New York arrives to cover the story. Hal Hinson follows the facts, but finds that Charleston is a much more complex and seductive city than he imagined. Through the narration of Hal Hinson, we see the beauty of Charleston, the ugliness of the racial divide and a struggle, through the transcripts of actual court testimony, between two lawyers for the life of a man accused of murder. The reader also comes to know the real character of the accused. Daniel Cornelius “Nealy” Duncan was the last man hanged by the state of South Carolina. It did not go well. Nealy was on the eve of his wedding when he was arrested. A young black man of respectable employment, manners and temperament, his trial and execution presents the reality of a love story in a tragic frame. History wrote the story’s ending – an intersection of fate and faith that some to this day call divine retribution for the death of an innocent man.
Following release of the novel, Batt petitioned the State of South Carolina for a posthumous pardon for Duncan. It was denied.
Jack Kennedy: Path to Glory
Batt's second novel · Currently pending publication.
Based on the true story of John F. Kennedy, his first love, and the second World War. In the spring of 1942, the nation is at war. A young naval ensign is in trouble. He’s in Naval Intelligence and he’s been banished to a small southern facility due to a scandalous affair with a suspected spy that has drawn the attention of J. Edgar Hoover and the White House. She is a beautiful Dane who once knew Hitler. He is the son of an embassador in disgrace. Jack Kennedy is caught between love, and a hard place.
The story begins in Charleston, SC where Kennedy struggles between the conflicts of his affair and his drive to join the war in combat. Young, smitten, sick and sidelined, he watches while his well heeled friends take the path to glory and his father conspires to keep him safe. Young Jack works his own schemes and lands in the South Pacific. Without the story of PT109 Jack Kennedy may never have been President, but there were two Kennedys who were heroes of that war. Only one became President.