Some murdering fool is paring down the African-American A-list, and FBI superagent Angela Bivens, making her second appearance, doesn’t have a clue.
She better get one fast because the pressure cooker’s already at the boil. The thing is that Inspector Angie, herself African-American, isn’t really at the top of her game these days. Well, come on now. You can’t get yourself pregnant by a sociopathic killer—who’s also the love of your life—pump five rounds from a nine mm-SIG Sauer into his gorgeous hide, and not break a sweat. (See Sympathy for the Devil, 2001, Angie’s debut.) Still, though tiny (five-two and cute), Angie has the heart of a giant—and the brain of a street-smart Machiavelli who repeatedly proves her worth with insights as breathtaking as: “If you can manipulate the press to serve your needs, you can seduce anyone.” Angie goes to work. Her top brass likes a certain ruthless, rabidly racist, right-wing gang as the collective perps, but much as she wants to, Angie can’t buy that. In her view, the answers lie in a murkier kind of hatred, the kind that has to do with (gasp!) ancient curses, witchcraft, black magic. Try selling that to a bunch of nervous bosses—in an election year, no less. Central to this complicating happenstance is the estimable Brian “Butch” Buford, courageous war hero, brilliant attorney, first black man ever to represent California in the US Senate—and only inches short of being named Al Gore’s running mate in his coming campaign against Texas governor G.W. Bush. Angie admires Buford, a lot, but as her investigation intensifies he begins to worry her—as a potential victim, yes, but as the hider of unsettling secrets as well.
Such overheated goings-on: witches’ covens, warlock-murderers, hip-hop FBI agents. Willing suspension of disbelief? Not this time.