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Ardella Garland, Author
Ardella Garland, Author Simon & Schuster $21 (208p) ISBN 978-0-684-87375-6
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-7432-1125-3
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African-American TV journalist Georgia Barnett makes her debut in a mystery chiefly notable for its heroine's sassy sense of humor. At the scene of a South Side Chicago gang killing, Georgia interviews on camera an important eyewitness, a little black girl named Butter. After Butter is kidnapped, Georgia's guilt drives her to seek the girl's abductors. Helping and hindering in this hunt are a local preacher, Georgia's superiors at the television station and handsome cop Doug Eckart, with whom she quickly falls into a predictable, innuendo-laced give and take. The author (Falling Leaves of Ivy; Bebe's by Golly Wow, etc.) is less adept at plotting a mystery than she is at presenting an overly knowing black romantic fiction reminiscent of Terry McMillan. Which of the two rival gangs, the Rock Disciples or the Gangster Bandits, actually seized Butter is in truth pretty much anyone's guess, while the constant fibbing to which the career-addicted Doug and Georgia subject each other prior to the florid scenes of passion gets tiresome fast. The extreme youth of the killers and victims adds some poignancy, as do the drugs, poverty and helplessness with which they constantly battle. Somewhere inside this coy work there's a serious message struggling to get out. Agent, Victoria Sanders. (Sept.)
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