Double Dead

Gary Hardwick, Author Dutton Books $23.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-525-93920-7
Denizens of Detroit's underworld and power elite intersect and collide to mesmerizing effect in this taut thriller. African American prosecutor Jesse King is a man poised between two worlds--the stratosphere of ostensibly color-blind success and the raw desperation of his ghetto past. When black mayor Yancy Harris is murdered, Jesse gets second chair on the prosecution team, but he's no fool--he knows he got the job largely because of his skin color. It's a high-profile case, and initially the mayor's wife is the prime suspect, but there are things that don't add up, like rumors that Harris was reneging on his opposition to casinos in Detroit. When call girl Ramona Blake, Harris's lover, who witnessed the murder and barely escaped with her own life, is held by the police, Jesse learns about a mysterious briefcase that the mayor received before he died. Then things get out of control. A defense attorney is killed and Jesse is framed for the murder. Chased by the real killers, Jesse helps Ramona escape, and together they descend into the underworld of Detroit in search of that briefcase, which is now in the hands of a gang leader named Cane. Sharp as a knife and roller-coaster fast, with a violent climax and an army of suspects, this follow-up to Harwick's Cold Medina is dead-on about the politics and reality of race in the big city. And it's very neatly plotted. Characters planted in the first few chapters (along with Jesse's attitudes towards them) reappear during Jesse's descent into Ramona's world. Even the labored gang scenes and a predictable romance between the two principals can't take away from this gripping thriller. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/1997
Release date: 08/01/1997
Mass Market Paperbound - 400 pages - 978-0-451-18276-0
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