Featured Book for July




WIFE OF THE GODS By Kwei Quartey

Synopsis:

Lyrical and captivating, Kwei Quartey’s debut novel brings to life the majesty and charm of Ghana–from the capital city of Accra to a small community where long-buried secrets are about to rise to the surface.

In a shady grove outside the small town of Ketanu, a young woman—a promising med student—has been found dead under suspicious circumstances. Eager to close the case, the local police have arrested a poor, enamored teenage boy and charged him with murder. Needless to say, they are less than thrilled when an outside force arrives from the big city to lead an inquiry into the baffling case.

Detective Inspector Darko Dawson, fluent in Ketanu’s indigenous language, is the right man for the job, but he hates the idea of leaving his loving wife and young son, a plucky kid with a defective heart. Pressured by his cantankerous boss, Dawson agrees to travel to Ketanu, sort through the evidence, and tie up the loose ends as quickly and as efficiently as possible. But for Dawson, this sleepy corner of Ghana is rife with emotional land mines: an estranged relationship with the family he left behind twenty-five years earlier and the painful memory of his own mother’s sudden, inexplicable disappearance. Dawson is armed with remarkable insight and a healthy dose of skepticism, but these gifts, sometimes overshadowed by his mercurial temper, may not be enough to solve this haunting mystery. In Ketanu, he finds that his cosmopolitan sensibilities clash with age-old customs, including a disturbing practice in which teenage girls are offered by their families to fetish priests as trokosi, or Wives of the Gods.

This is a compelling and unique mystery, enriched by an exotic setting and a vivid cast. And Inspector Darko Dawson—dedicated family man, rebel in the office, and ace in the field—is one of the most appealing sleuths to come along in years. Click here for an excerpt.




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Black Mystery & Thriller Round-Up

With all the recent bad news about black mystery writers being dropped by publishers, it got me to wondering what if any new or recent releases by black mystery/thriller writers were either out or on the horizon. So I put on my librarian hat and did some research. Here’s what I found.


Deadly Charm By Claudia Mair Burney is the third book in her popular Christian mystery series featuring forensic psychologist Amanda Bell Brown. I had the pleasure of interviewing Claudia here on the Crime Sistahs Blog back before the series made it’s leap from NavPress to Simon and Schuster’s Howard Books. I’m so thrilled she and Amanda Bell Brown are still around. Release Date: March 24, 2009.

Jericho’s Fall By Stephen Carter. This new thriller by New York Times bestseller Carter is about an explosive secret harbored by Jericho Ainsley, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency and a Wall Street titan who is dying. He confides the secret—that foreign governments and powerful corporations alike would kill to have—to his former lover. Sounds like a page-turner. Release Date: July 14, 2009.

Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss By Kyra Davis. After a two year hiatus, Kyra Davis is back with the fourth book in her wildly popular series featuring mystery writer and amateur sleuth, Sophie Katz. If you haven’t checked out Sophie and company, you’re in for a treat. Kyra is also giving away a trip to San Francisco, where the series is set, as well as other cool prizes. Click here for details. Release Date: June 1, 2009

Whiskey Gulf By Clyde Ford is the third nautical thriller featuring Charlie Noble. This outing has him investigating a missing sailboat and the couple aboard it. Visit Ford’s website for a video narrated by Morgan Freeman which accompanied the release of the previous Charlie Noble book, Precious Cargo. I’ve yet to read any of Ford’s books but I’ve added them to my ever-growing list. Release Date: July 14, 2009.

Black Water Rising By Attica Locke. Talk about a name meant for a book cover. Ms. Locke’s debut thriller features down and out lawyer Jay Porter and tells how his life is turned upside down after he saves a drowning white woman. This book is getting lots of buzz from heavy hitters like Georges Pelecanos and James Elroy and received a starred review in Booklist. I can’t wait to read it. Release Date: June 9, 2009

Cornered By Brandon Massey. Massey started out writing horror and has made a successful transition into thrillers. Cornered tells the tale of Cory Webb, a successful business and family man who’s dark past comes calling threatening to destroy everything he holds dear. Sounds like another winner. Release Date: August 4, 2009

The Long Fall By Walter Mosley introduces the bestselling and award-winning author’s new post Easy Rawlins character, private eye and former boxer, Leonid McGill. It’s also set in modern day New York City. It’s gotten rave reviews since its release and is sitting on my TBR pile. Release Date: March 24, 2009.

Black Noir: Mystery, Crime, and Suspense Stories by African-American Writers Edited by Otto Penzler-Features short stories by such talented authors as Paula Woods, Gary Phillips, Chester Himes, Walter Mosley, Edward P. Jones, and many others. This book is on NPR’s Recommended Summer Reading List. Click here for an excerpt. Release Date: March 3, 2009.

If I’ve left anyone out, please let me know. And please support these wonderfully talented authors and their books before black mystery writers become extinct. Enjoy!
By Angela Henry

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Book Reviews

A COLD AND SILENT DYING, by Eleanor Taylor Bland
ARC OF JUSTICE, by Kevin Boyle
THE BLACKBIRD PAPERS, by Ian Smith
BLACK MOON, by Haaji
BLONDE FAITH, by Walter Mosley
BLOOD ON THE LEAVES, by Jeff Stetson
THE BODY BOX, by Lynn Ambercrombie
BOURBON STREET, by Leonce Gaiter
CASANEGRA, by Blair Underwood, Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes
CHOSEN PEOPLE, by Karen Grigsby Bates
CINNAMON KISS, by Walter Mosley
THE CINQUEFOIL CONNECTION, by Recy Dunn
THE COLOR OF LAW, by Mark Gimenez
THE COMPANY YOU KEEP, by Angela Henry
DEAD WATER, by Barbara Hambly
DIVA'S LAST CURTAIN CALL, by Angela Henry
DOWN AND DIRTY, by Gammy L. Singer
DRAMA CITY, by George Pelecanos
DYING IN THE DARK, by Valerie Wilson Wesley
EVERY REASONABLE DOUBT, by Pamela Samuels-Young
FATAL JUSTICE, by Faye Snowden
GETTING HERS, by Donna Hill
GHOSTS OF SAINT-MICHEL, by Jake Lamar
HARLEM REDUX, by Persia Walker
IN FIRM PURSUIT, by Pamela Samuels-Young
JACKSON PARK, by Charlotte Carter
JASS, by David Fulmer
JUSTICE SERVED, by R. Barri Flowers
KILLER RICHES, by Chassie West
A LANDLORD'S TALE, by Gammy Singer
LEMON CITY, by Elaine Meryl Brown
LITTLE SCARLET, by Walter Mosley
LOUISIANA LAMENT, by Julie Smith
LOVE AND DEATH IN BROOKLYN, by Glenville Lovell
MURDER, MAYHEM, and a FINE MAN, by Claudia Mair Burney
NEW ENGLAND WHITE, by Stephen L. Carter
THE OTHER BROTHER, by Brandon Massey
PASSION, BETRAYAL, AND KILLER HIGHLIGHTS, by Kyra Davis
PERSUASIVE EVIDENCE, by R. Barri Flowers
ORANGE CRUSHED, by Pamela Thomas-Graham
RAMPART STREET, by David Fulmer
RENDEZVOUS EIGHTEENTH, by Jake Lamar
SEX, MURDER AND A DOUBLE LATTE, by Kyra Davis
SHADES OF BLACK(Anthology), edited by Eleanor Taylor Bland
STATE'S EVIDENCE, by R. Barri Flowers
TANGLED ROOTS, by Angela Henry
THE BRIDGE, by Solomon Jones
THE LAST KING, by Nichelle Tramble
TRIP WIRE, by Charlotte Carter
VIDEO COWBOYS, by Yolanda Joe
VOODOO SEASON, by Jewell Parker Rhodes
WE'LL NEVER TELL, by Kayla Perrin
WHERE THERE'S A WILL, by Walker, Hailstock, Anderson, Lewis

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Research Resources

Here are some great resources for those wanting to research the history, origins, and role of African-Americans in mystery and crime fiction.

BOOKS

The Blues Detective : A Study of African American Detective Fiction, by Stephen F. Soitos

Crime Fiction, 1800-2000: Detection, Death, Diversity, by Stephen Knight

Diversity and Detective Fiction Edited, by Kathleen Gregory Klein

Donald Writes No More : A Biography of Donald Goines BY Eddie Stone

The Ethnic Detective: Chester Himes BY Peter Freese

Multicultural Detective Fiction: Murder from the Other Side Edited BY Adrienne Johnson Gosselin

Out of the Woodpile: Black Characters in Crime and Detective Fiction
BY Frankie Y. Bailey

Sleuthing Ethnicity: The Detective in Multiethnic Crime Fiction Edited BY Dorothea Fischer-Hornung

Spooks, Spies, and Private Eyes: Black Mystery, Crime and Suspense
Fiction BY Paula Woods

Traces, Codes, and Clues: Reading Race in Crime Fiction, by Maureen
Reddy

Two Guns from Harlem: The Detective Fiction of Chester Himes, by Robert E. Skinner

ARTICLES

Beyond Shaft, by Kevin Burton Smith

The Black Dick: Race, Sexuality, and Siscourse in the L.A. novels of Walter Mosley - African American detective novels

The Ethnic Detective Part II, Mystery Reader's Journal, Vol. 14 #3 1998

The Fiction of Black Crime: It's No Mystery - African American mystery novelists: includes a reference for source materials

From Talma Gordon to Theresa Galloway: Images of African American Women in mysteries By Patricia A. Turner: Source: Black Scholar; Spring98, Vol. 28 Issue 1, p23, 4p

Power and Knowledge in Walter Mosley's Devil in a Blue Dress - Critical Essay

What's Behind the Boon of Black Mystery Writers?

He is a "bad mother $%@!#\": Shaft and Contemporary Black Masculinity - Perspectives - Critical Essay

Invisible Detection: The Case of Walter Mosley - author - Critical Essay
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2278/is_1_26/ai_77049934

It's Black, White--And Noir By Malcolm Jones
Source: Newsweek; 6/24/2002, Vol. 139 Issue 25, p86, 2p, 4c

A Brief History of African-American Mysteries
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0HST/is_5_3/ai_78226515

Please feel free to email MystNoir at MystNoir33@mailcity.com if you have a suggestion for a resource to add to this page.

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