cover image Hidden Secrets, Hidden Lives

Hidden Secrets, Hidden Lives

J. Leon Pridgen II, Atria/Strebor, $12 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-59309-323-5

With this debut, Pridgen, a former Marine, issues a clumsy warning that secrets, no matter how hidden, can destroy a life. Travis Moore has a loving wife and a successful job as an auditor at Home Supply. But a promotion forces him and his family back to his hometown of Charlotte, N.C., creating tensions at home and forcing him to face a series of long-held secrets connecting him to Baby Jar, one of Charlotte's most dangerous drug dealers, and Bone, a man whose rabid revenge fantasies haven't cooled in the 15 years since Moore was last in town. Travis faces his criminal past while violence both old and new threatens his happy life—and all the people associated with it. Pridgen's effort is a fast-paced tale of betrayal rife with the attitude and violence typical of street lit, but unusual in the depth of some of its characters, at least until the end, when unmotivated actions betray awkward plotting, and final narrative knot-tying reveals a sentimental point-of-view. (Feb.)