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Standing at the Scratch Line: King Tremain Series, Book 1 (Tremain Family Saga #1)

4.49  ·  Rating Details ·  520 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews

Raised in the steamy bayous of New Orleans in the early 1900s, LeRoi "King" Tremain, caught up in his family's ongoing feud with the rival DuMont family, learns to fight. But when the teenage King mistakenly kills two white deputies during a botched raid on the DuMonts, the Tremains' fear of reprisal forces King to flee Louisiana.

MP3 Book, 0 pages
Published March 26th 2010 by Recorded Books, LLC (first published December 1st 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Feb 22, 2012 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-reviewed-by-me
Wow. What a great book! Not at all what I expected. Completely unique, which is kind of a shame. I mean, why hasn't a story like this been told before? A pre-Civil Rights story about an African American male who is not a door mat shouldn't be such a novel concept, but it is. Yes, the fact that he is almost a super-human hero was a bit hard for me to swallow at first. But then I remembered that I have read lots of books with similar off-the-charts, Superman-like male protagonists (spys, assassins ...more
Aug 23, 2011 Keith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled upon Guy Johnson and his work while searching for “Pym” by Mat Johnson at my local library. I gave it a shot and was surprised with “Standing at the Scratch Line”. King Tremain is a complex and well layered character that honestly made me want to understand his train of thought and look into his future.

Johnson used a lot of different characters like Serena, Big Ed, and Darwin “The Professor” Morris to give us a view of various characters that were involved in King’s life. Honestly, I
Jun 30, 2010 Uranie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All males should read this book. Strong, positive and loyal AA male figure.
Kimberly Carmen
Jun 18, 2012 Kimberly Carmen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had me thinking about what KING TREMAIN would do in certain situations. He is a simple yet complex man in his relationships with those around him. Family took form as blood relatives, people he trusted and of course his military associates. He was no nonsense and upfront. His knack for taking what he wanted chimed throughout the entire book. However, he was not a selfish man.

Early in the book LeRoi "King" Tremain is sent away from his family for his actions while protecting his family
May 22, 2012 Cassondra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
King Tremain is a complex character with many layers and dimensions. I admired his strength, appreciated his love of family and honor, his courage was sexy and his dark side was scary but necessary.

The story is exciting, thought provoking and cathartic. Social, psychological, financial and emotional issues are all addressed in this creative story of love, loss, growth and maturity. I can see each of character in this book. From the international scene of World War I to streets of Harlem and from
May 15, 2013 Terrica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my absolute favorite book!!! I read this book over 10 years ago & it is still my favorite!! King Tremain was a man's man despite being black during an era when being black meant being less than. He didn't take no mess from anyone! No other book has completely enthrallled me and has me wishing for more stories about the main character!!! I would live to see this book made into a movie!

I was so moved by the main character that I kept giving my husband updates while being pregnant with
Jan 12, 2011 Will rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite book hands down; I have never been so excited about a character in a book before where I visualized that the character was myself. The main character in this book is a strong, wise, fearless, family oriented, loving brother that will not back down from any situation in order to protect the ones he care for and love. Guy Johnson, the author, also drops tid bits of history in this book (i love authors who do that), with the history he weaves in this story it encourages you to g ...more
Mar 19, 2013 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has to be one of the best books I read. What I hate is he only published 2 books and stopped
I did not want this book to end!
Aug 11, 2014 Dana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all time favorite books, this is fabulous . It would make a great movie!
Oct 17, 2010 Maceo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best character sagas that I have read in a looooooong time. I highly recommend it.
Aug 24, 2015 Vanessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I read this novel, I imagined King Tremain as a super hero. This was indeed a saga!!
Aug 16, 2013 Virginia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy this book at the beginning, but unfortunately the author could not keep my first impression throughout the whole book. The principal problem was that his main character, King, was never truly known by the reader. The author could not make King come alive to me. He was almost like a mythical avenger toward everyone who is evil or has done evil to his people. I never got to know the character, King, I just read about him. Maybe I was supposed to hate King, maybe I was supposed to love King ...more
Feb 11, 2017 Akeel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a thriller that has you cringing to you seat the whole time. Racism is very prevalent and killing of both sides is rampant. Two different families war with each other when after generations the King is back. He does not tolerate the "N" word and if you do use it be warned. You won't expect how the book climaxes because there are too many climaxes. Be ready for a shocking ending.
Amelia Allen-Ray
After having this book sit on the shelf for quite some time, I was finally able to sit down and read it.

I found it to be an 'eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth' story. At first I was trying to understand the reason behind the motive for Tremain shedding blood without remorse. But as I got further into the story, I began to see not only a black Josey Wales, but a black American hero too. The only drawback was the disappointment of Tremain being robbed of uniting with his first born son.

Although it
Aug 27, 2013 Larry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is jam packed with -- with what? -- adventure? suspense? plot-twists? If it was a movie, it would have a form of "Deliverance" in it, a healthy dose of "Band of Brothers", a smorgasbord of "The Godfather", "Mississippi Burning", and what I would say fits the form, if not the proper setting of a terrific Western, like "Pale Rider". And yet, it ends with a mix of Old Testament Bible and Greek Tragedy. In short, it's not lacking in content. And it does not come across as contrived as it g ...more
Jul 02, 2011 Melinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW!! This was one of the most exciting books I've ever read----truly a page turner. The story spans the years from WWI through WWII giving a unique perspective of the African American experience in that time frame. The author has depicted King Tremain, the main character, as a strong, proud, Black man during a time when it was especially difficult to survive the constant indignities of racism. The reader follows Kings as he leaves his teens in Louisiana, participates in a segregated army unit i ...more
Jul 20, 2012 Byron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Klantastic account of a psychotically angry African-American killing all who stand against him (including plenty of Klansman) would make a fucking awesome blaxsploitation film. The language is pretty simplistic, though, by no means a great book, but a fun ride. The author is the son of Maya Angelou, btw. I listened to it as an audio book, and the reader did a great job with black vernacular, but had some difficulty sounding like the racist crackers of the South. He should have impersonated ...more
Sam Reaves
There's nothing like a big historical epic to keep me up at night. This one takes us into the under-explored territory of the African American experience in the early twentieth century. A tough Louisiana backwoods kid has to flee the bayous after killing a sheriff's deputy; he serves in the segregated U.S. Army in World War I and then comes back to Jazz Age Harlem and points west in a country where he is a second-class citizen, fighting for respect the whole way. The dialogue is a bit stilted at ...more
Aug 25, 2009 Deanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone 18+
Recommended to Deanie by: Olivette Thompson
This is the first installment of a family saga written by Guy Johnson, son of Maya Angelou. Obviously he inherited her gift for communicating. The novel spans from 1916-1946 through larger-than-life protagonist LeRoi Boudreaux Tremain-aka King. From the trenches of WWI to 1940s San Francisco, by way of Harlem and New Orleans, King takes part in a family feud at 14, fights with the all-black 369th Regiment in the fields of Alsace-Lorraine, does battle with the mob, the KKK and law enforcement age ...more
Tonia  Smith
Feb 21, 2016 Tonia Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Standing at the Scratch Line

I gave the is book 5 absolutely powerful novel. The story of King Tremain will have you on the edge of your seat. Through his story I can see so many young men with a similar vision even in today's society.

A little bit of a slow beginning but worth it once you push through. Didn't know what to think of King but then as I read through I actually admire him. Sometimes we all want the same things out of life but we all end of doing it differently to get to t
This was just exhausting, especially knowing the the events depicted happened all too often and still happen but there are few protagonists like this one that get to live. I lost count of the one dimensional racist ass hats in this and they're only half the story, but read real enough. Familiar and new tropes galore in this one. As for the writing style, quality, plot intricacy, depth of characters and all that - will save it for the book club. Geez. You do want to know what happens...and then i ...more
Crystal Marie
One of the best books I've ever read. I recommended it to a friend, who hates reading, which was a bold move bc of it's length, and he loved it. It's got drama, suspense, romance, lots of action, gore, everything you could ever ask for. a true great piece of historical fiction.
If you can ignore some of the lengthy descriptions (unless you like that), and don't mind that you may have to look up some words, you will love this book.
I've read it multiple times and it still captivates me every time.
Aug 05, 2013 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel conflicted about this book. I wanted to love it since I love Maya Angelou. But I did not really like his writing style. Some things were very predictable and cliche. However, I read the whole thing. Lol! Typically I would have just stopped reading a book that I wasn't enjoying more. Despite the writing style, I wanted to know what happened next. I enjoyed that the story revealed parts of the story of this country from a voice not usually heard. Glad I finished. Wouldn't read it again. I l ...more
Feb 26, 2009 Kesha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to our book club members by an author that said it was his favorite book. I was a little intimidated when I saw how many pages it had, but I kept reading. In the end I thought that this was a really good book as well. I'm interested in finding out what happens to King and Serena's family, so I'm definitely going to purchase the sequel immediately. Just as someone recommended it to us, I would definitely recommend it for others to read. Guy Johnson did a wonderful job!!!
Jul 28, 2012 Shante rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a fan of sagas and this has now became one of my favorites. I personally did not like King Tremain as a person very much but I admired his goals, dreams, and determination for fairness. I also did not like his wife because of how deceitful and selfish she was. I truly loved the side characters and wished Guy Johnson would have pumped some of their warmth and likability into King and his wife. I will read the followup because I am now a fan of Guy Johnson's writing.
Jun 19, 2008 Tori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
TRULY -- one of my all time favorite books! I just had so much fun reading this "tall tale." I've acutally read this book on three separate occasions: first by myself, second as a part of a bookclub; third as a part of another bookclub nearly 8 years later. It was better everytime. The writing is good; the story is GREAT!
Jun 25, 2014 Trinia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It was very detailed and chronicled King's life well. There was no point that I wondered what would happen without reading about it later. When the book ended, I wasn't thinking, " I wonder what happened to ....."
But yes, it was looooooong!! but with the detail provided the length of the book was warranted.
Jul 19, 2012 Milton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exciting, fast paced and unique book. I love the way Guy Johnson weaved African American history into the story on 'King' Tremain. King does what many black men of that time probably wanted to do when confronted with the racism of the time. I think this book and its follow up, Echoes of a Distant Summer, would make a great miniseries. One of my favorite reads.
Nov 06, 2013 Joyce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book and the character of King Tremain! A man that any woman would admire. I couldn't put this book down and wish we had more books like this. For those of us that have had strong black men in our family, this book was easy to relate to and if only we had men like that today. Guy needs to keep writing as he is truly gifted.
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