cover image The Black Stiletto: Stars and Stripes

The Black Stiletto: Stars and Stripes

Raymond Benson. Oceanview (Midpoint, dist.), $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-60809-072-3

Excerpts from Judy Cooper’s 1960 diary provide the main narrative for Benson’s diverting, nostalgia-filled third thriller featuring the costumed vigilante known as the Black Stiletto (after 2012’s The Black Stiletto: Black and White). In the present, Judy’s grown son, Martin Talbot, tries to come to terms with the past of his mother, who’s now afflicted with Alzheimer’s. That past is revealed by her diaries. In Eisenhower-era New York City, Judy has various adventures that touch on such burning issues of the day as the communist menace and race relations. In particular, the naïve but game Judy attempts to help teen Billy Shen Lee, whose father was killed by neighborhood gangsters in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Later, she becomes a “Kennedy Girl” and meets the candidate (“I swear, if he wasn’t married, I’d be all over him”). Judy gives and takes a lot of punishment as the misunderstood Black Stiletto literally fights crime with girlish enthusiasm. Agent: Peter Miller, Global Lion. (Apr.)