In Garland's second mystery to feature sharp and sassy African-American Chicago newswoman Georgia Barnett (after 2000's Details at Ten), Georgia manages to keep herself knee-deep in breaking action, whether on- or off-camera. Georgia and twin sister Peaches, a nightclub owner, become embroiled in a plot that thrusts the girls into serious danger and lands their friend Jimmy Flamingo, a first-rate blues guitarist and recovering drug addict, in jail for the murder of ruthless record producer Fab Weaver. Flamingo's bad temper and reputation seem to spell his doom, but when Georgia checks up on Fab's only son, Guy, she uncovers some pretty convincing motives for Guy's having done the deed. The more Georgia digs, the more reasons she finds why any number of people would have wanted Fab six feet under, for Fab made his fortune ripping off young black artists who recorded with him during the golden age of Chicago's famous Record Row. Meanwhile, the sisters' larger-than-life mom provides amusing glimpses into Peaches and Georgia's upbringing, while police detective Doug Eckart supplies ample romantic interest. The ethnic banter between the true-to-life characters will keep readers grinning even through the tensest of moments. Mystery buffs beware—Garland's refreshingly different style can be addictive. 6-city author tour. Agent, Victoria Sanders. (Feb. 19)
FYI:Joe is the author of the Blackboard novels Falling Leaves of Ivy; He Say, She Say; Bebe's by Golly Wow and This Just In.