by Terrance McArthur
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
A TV show filming in Harlem. A rising, sexy star with secrets (Don’t they always?). An executive on the set fearing for her life. A young punk with a gambling problem—he loses more than he wins. A mid-level mob goon with a taste for hurting people. A private investigator pulling security duty.
What could go wrong? A lot in Murder Take Two, Delia C. Pitts’ sixth Ross Agency Mystery.
SJ Rook is a tough guy, ex-military, working Harlem for a local agency, which puts him on the location of Undaunted starring Vicky Joyce. Women want to be her. Men want her. Rook is attracted, but he sort-of has someone—Sabrina Ross, his boss in the Ross Agency. Rook tries to deal with the logistics of filming in a neighborhood where businesses that welcomed the glamour of Hollywood begin to complain when the crew on the streets means customers can’t reach their doors. Toss in murder, and the community gets less enchanted by the workings of the Dream Factory.
This is a gritty, raw, first-person, urban-noir mystery, heavy on the language and violence—but light on the sex (although there is some serious desiring; call it sexy, not sexual). One interesting feature is point-of-view sections from inside the killer’s head. You know who the killer is and why they are doing it, watch the planning stage, feel surprise at complications, and feel sorrow as the body count rises.
Pitts is a member of Crime Writers of Color, and introduces issues of race and passing that intensify the story. She wrote much of the book under pandemic conditions.
Rook has a backstory, slowly laid out when it needs to be revealed. The characters have nuances, goals, dreams, and faults, and they can make mistakes…like we do.
Murder Take Two has violence and death, but there is an intelligence in it that brings a reality and life to its mean streets. This is the sixth Ross Agency book, and the seventh, My Blackmailer’s Murder, is scheduled for 2023. I’m definitely interested.
To enter to win a copy of Murder Take Two, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “take two” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 30, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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