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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0446523267, Hardcover)Christopher Darden was brought in to give the O.J. Simpson prosecution team extra strength and a racial balance. His disdain for the defendant seemed real, his anger genuine, his motives strictly judicial. These same qualities give his first mystery a definite edge--honed by a collaboration with the excellent mystery writer and critic Dick Lochte.
Like Darden, Nikki Hill has been sent to a prosecutorial purgatory--suburban Compton. She's then called back to downtown L.A. because the new black district attorney, Joe Walden, wants her race, plus her sex and brains, on his team following the death of a talk-show personality. The chief suspects are all African Americans.
Nikki, the thirtysomething daughter of a cold and distant cop, is a very interesting character--burned out at work and still recovering from the loss of a lover, but soft and human enough to take chances on both fronts. And she gets some strong support, especially from a wise old detective named Ed Goodman who has many of the qualities of the memorable Leo G. Bloodworth, the private eye in Lochte's Sleeping Dog. Her boss is a believably conflicted bureaucrat; the bad guys--a powerful black music mogul, his movie-star icon of a wife, their backup team of slick lawyers, street gangsters, crooked cops, and a world-class dirty trickster from Washington who describes himself as "a Stealth scumbag"--are eminently worthy opponents.
The weird ending leaves much to be desired, but maybe next time these two smart writers will fashion a stronger finale. Until then, you can enjoy Lochte's wonderful New Orleans mysteries: Blue Bayou and The Neon Smile. --Dick Adler
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:43 -0400)
A famous gossip columnist is murdered in Los Angeles and a man is arrested in possession of her ring. For black prosecutor Nikki Hill such an open-and-shut case is an opportunity for fame--unless she takes into account that the columnist was blackmailing celebrities. A tale of justice versus career.
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