THIN WALLS: A Smokey Dalton Novel

Kris Nelscott, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-28783-2

Chicago, December, 1968. Not a good place for a black man trying to hide himself and his 10-year-old son from the police and the FBI while starting a new life. Unlicensed PI Smokey Dalton, the man on the run, has assumed the name Bill Grimshaw in this third outing (after 2001's Smoke-Filled Rooms) from Nelscott (the pseudonym of SF author Kristine Kathryn Rusch). He has a plate full of trouble and not a whole lot else in a novel that recaptures the rage and helplessness that fueled the racial explosions of the late 1960s. Dalton/Grimshaw is clinging to vestiges of his former life, particularly his personal and professional relationship with Laura Hathaway, a rich, beautiful white woman who is trying to wrest control of the business her father left her from the directors he appointed. Dalton is serving as her security consultant while she plans her strategy. He is also trying to guide and protect his son, Jimmy, already under recruitment by the omnipresent gangs and struggling with schoolwork. On top of that, he's hired to investigate the murder of Louis Foster, a black dentist whose death has been seemingly ignored by the Chicago police. Nelscott handles this busy plot with aplomb and convincingly portrays the frustrations of various groups of whites and blacks as inexorable changes create friction. Dalton is a strong, compelling hero facing a tough case and an equally tough fight to protect his son and survive. Regional author tour. (Sept. 16)

FYI:The first book in the series, A Dangerous Road (2000), was an Edgar nominee.

Reviewed on: 08/12/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
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