Up Jumped the Devil

Blair S. Walker, Author, Hugh B. Price, Author William Morrow & Company $22 (292p) ISBN 978-0-380-97420-7
Walker introduces African American sleuth Darryl Billups in a debut marred by awkward writing and sloppy characterization. Billups, the police reporter for the Baltimore Herald, receives a series of anonymous telephone calls warning him that the Baltimore NAACP office will be bombed and that a prominent Baltimore philanthropist and NAACP supporter will be shot. Billups notifies the police and the newspaper but does nothing to investigate the calls. Meanwhile, alternating chapters follow the activities of fanatic Mark Dillard and his blundering four-man gang of neo-Nazis who would be laughable if they weren't so vicious: they manage to kill an undercover cop; they kill the philanthropist; and they bomb a sanitation department garage. The anonymous caller finally reveals more information about the bombing, forcing Billups to take some action to stop Dillard's group. Billups is a sorry excuse for a hero who spends his time ranting against his editor and romancing a young woman instead of investigating the case. While the third-person narrative that follows Dillard is merely plain, Billups's narration illustrates all the dangers of having a sleuth tell his own tale: cocky, self-centered and vain, he displays no wit or irony, no surprising soft spot or anything else that might make a reader want to indulge him.(Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57815-210-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57511-029-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 272 pages - 978-0-380-79025-8
Paperback - 291 pages - 978-1-935597-60-5
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