Blood Rights

Mike Phillips, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (198p) ISBN 978-0-312-02874-9
In this top-notch first novel, set in present-day London, Samson Dean, a black journalist, is hired to find Virginia Baker, the college-age daughter of a prominent, white conservative MP. Since Virginia was last seen in the company of a young black man, Dean is uncomfortable with the racial implications of the job; neither does he approve of the MP's politics, but his bank balance leaves him no choice but to accept the assignment. Centering his believable, methodical investigation on identifying who Virginia was with, Dean discovers the man is her half-brother, Roy, and that the two are heavily involved in drugs, extortion and prostitution. The plot is hard-boiled, the mystery unfolding gradually rather than presenting itself full blown for solution. Phillips's dialogue and his protagonist's voice-over ruminations on everything from racial disharmony to foolishness on TV are spot-on, adding to the pleasure a fresh, transatlantic sensibility and inflection. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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