Yardie

Victor Headley, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $18 (185p) ISBN 978-0-87113-550-6
When ``D.,'' the protagonist of first-novelist Headley's well-crafted crime story, smuggles a kilo of cocaine into London from Jamaica, he sidesteps its would-be recipients and sells it himself, investing the proceeds in his own drug-dealing business. What follows is more than the familiar narrative of a criminal's rise and fall, for Headley tempers his pulp with rigorous observation that brings London's Jamaican community to life on the page. Characters such as Charlie, D.'s practical business partner, Donna, D's lover and protector, and Blue, a rival from Jamaica, have an appealing specificity. The dancehall reggae scene that D. and his gang inhabit is also well drawn. As D.'s business grows and encounters resistance, and reports on events in Kingston, New York and Miami become frequent, one realizes that Headley seeks to offer a window on the Jamaican diaspora beyond London. Conversely, however, D. himself, always something of a cypher, seems by the conclusion to be almost a minor character in his own drama. A planned sequel may perhaps provide insight into the gangster at the center of the intriguing world Headley has created. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1993
Release date: 09/01/1993
Paperback - 185 pages - 978-0-330-33042-8
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