by Elizabeth Wilkerson
“Everybody’s scared of everybody.” —heard in a Clubhouse chatroom
Spring is finally upon us. With the end of a dark tunnel of anger, isolation, and illness in sight, we all just want to take a deep breath. But, the horrors of the headlines persist. From hate crimes against Asians to heartbreaking testimony in the prosecution of George Floyd’s killer and headlines about ordinary people of color enjoying their lives— before they’re murdered, the daily news is so packed with shocking, racist crimes that it’s delivered with a trigger warning.
I ask myself why I write crime fiction, why I read crime fiction. And my answer is that writing and reading crime fiction helps me grapple with vexing social issues. And I can imagine that sometimes justice just might prevail. Let me introduce some excellent reasons to read crime fiction—upcoming and new releases by Crime Writers of Color.
Runner by Tracy Clark
Fifteen-year-old Ramona Titus has run away from her foster home, and, though the police are on the case, Cass has been hired to find her. But can she find Ramona when the girl doesn’t want to be found? A lot can go wrong on the gritty streets of Chicago. Can Cass uncover Ramona’s secrets and track her down before the wrong people find the girl first? If she can’t, she and Ramona may not survive another Chicago winter.
Warn Me When It’s Time by Cheryl A. Head
A hate group operating in southeastern Michigan has claimed responsibility for a string of vandalism at mosques, temples, and black churches around Detroit. When an explosion at a mosque in Dearborn kills a respected teacher, his children, suspicious of law enforcement’s treatment of Muslims, hires Charlie Mack and her team to find their father’s murderers. In their hunt for clues they discover a widespread conspiracy, and a homegrown militia hell-bent on starting a race war in America.
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala
An #OwnVoices Filipino-American culinary cozy mystery, in which a young woman returns to her small Midwestern town to recover from a breakup, only to have to deal with her family’s failing business, a gaggle of meddling aunties, and her vindictive ex-boyfriend-turned-food critic who has the bad taste to die in her aunt’s restaurant.
Gone Missing in Harlem by Karla Holloway
Gone Missing in Harlem evokes a family’s resilience. After their father dies and DeLilah Mosby’s son goes back South, she and daughter Selma meet difficulties with resolve. Selma’s baby is born against the infamous backdrop of the kidnapping of celebrated aviator’s Charles Lindbergh infant son. But when baby Chloe’s disappearance does not draw attention, Harlem’s first “colored” policeman takes the case. With nuanced characters and a lyrical voice, Gone Missing in Harlem affirms the restorative powers of home and family.
Pursuit of the Truth by K.D. Richards
Security expert Ryan West’s worst fears come to life when hotel CEO Nadia Shelton is pushed in front of a taxi and nearly killed. Someone will do whatever it takes to find the brother Nadia thought was dead, and the only way Ryan can protect her as they uncover the truth is to stay strictly professional. But the sparks igniting between them are nearly impossible to ignore.
The Inheritance by R. Franklin James
Johanna Hudson is a thirty-four-year-old genealogist forced to face the pain of her past while discovering that her research talents can be used to solve more than her clients’ ancestor family lines. At stake is a family battle over millions if paternity can be proven in time. Johanna scrambles against the clock to find the true heir and pushes forward when it is clear that greed is a motive that comes with its own rationalization—even for murder.
Mourning Star by Ava Mallory
Viviana Romero is a Jill-of-all-Trades. She commits murders, solves murders, unknowingly dates murderers, and occasionally gets kidnapped by murderers…on the small screen. As a beloved telenovela superstar, she’s seen and done it all. But when her relatively calm personal life starts looking more like her on-screen life, she’s in a world of trouble.
Lies We Bury by Elle Marr
Two decades ago Marissa Mo escaped a basement prison. At twenty-seven, Marissa’s moved beyond the trauma and is working as a freelance photographer. But when she accepts a job covering macabre murders in Portland, it’s impossible for Marissa not to remember. Everything is eerily familiar. And then there is the note meant just for her that freezes Marissa’s blood: See you soon, Missy. To determine the killer’s next move, Marissa must return to a past she’s hidden away.
A Game of Cones by Abby Collette
Another Ice Cream Parlor Mystery! After literally stumbling across the body, one of Win’s closest friends becomes the prime suspect, and to make things worse, Win’s aunt has come to town with the intention of taking command of Crewse Creamery. Even though Win has a rocky road ahead to help her friend and keep her ice cream shop, it’ll take more than a sprinkle of murder to stop her from solving the crime and saving the day.
Private eye Gus Corral isn’t doing too well after getting whacked with a baseball bat following his last big case. Tired, sore, and disoriented, he takes his sister’s advice to get out of Denver and help their cousins in Eastern Colorado. When Gus tracks a missing boy to a shelter for runaways, he discovers something much more sinister. Gus’s unique and weary voice combines a complex mystery with issues of identity, family, and responsibility, to oneself and others.
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