Twenty-six years after their search for revenge led to a criminal catastrophe that drove them apart, a corpse reunites a trio.
Handy, O’ and R.J. ran a few scams back in the day, minor stuff really, until Excel Rucker, a drug dealer, spread out a line of blow that killed Olivia Gardner, the girl Handy’s brother Chancellor loved, and the guys decided to teach Excel a lesson. It all went horribly wrong, of course, winding up with homicide, arson and the wrongful imprisonment of Excel’s cousin Paris McDonald. Now, so many years later, Paris has found religion and forgiven everybody, including the guilt-ridden R.J., who ventured into Pelican Bay Penitentiary to confess all to him just three days before he himself was found in an L.A. car trunk riddled with four bullets. Flying in from St. Paul for his former pal’s funeral, Handy wonders who might have killed him and why. He halfway suspects O’, now mayor of Bellwood, of engineering the murder. Nothing’s that simple, however, and the more Handy looks, the more ugly secrets, lies and coverups are revealed, until nothing is left to do but head back to St. Paul and lay bare the other major untruth in his background, this one concerning his daughter Coral.
Haywood, best known for his Aaron Gunner series (All the Lucky Ones are Dead, 2000, etc.), offers up rue, redemption and cataclysmic surprises with noir underpinnings.