STONE CRIBS by Kris Nelscott
Kirkus Star


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The closest you’ll ever come to understanding life as a black man in the ’60s, even if you’re a black man who lived through them.

Private eye Smokey Dalton and the street kid who could identify the real assassin of Martin Luther King Jr., assuming identities as father-and-son Bill and Jimmy Grimshaw, have settled in a Chicago apartment next door to Marvella Walker, a stunning black woman. One night, while Jimmy’s staying with friends, Smokey and his rich, white do-gooder girlfriend Laura Hathaway (Thin Walls, 2002, etc.) hear moans from Marvella’s place. It’s Val, the ex-wife of Marvella’s cousin Truman, a cop still obsessed with her. A rape victim, Val turned to Marvella when an abortionist nearly killed her. Truman’s plan to get revenge ends with his murder by two teenage gang members. Smelling a setup, Smokey takes up the case, though he’s stymied by the sheer number of underground abortionists and by a cover-up mounted by the Chicago PD Gang Intelligence Unit. The denouement finds Smokey side by side with the Blackstone Rangers, a fearsome street gang, as they mow down the man behind Val’s rape and Truman’s murder.

Apart from the strong continuing characters, the compelling treatment here of the pre–Roe v. Wade era—furtive and often grisly abortions, frequent “treatment” of black women by sterilization, along with the general ignorance among most men of what was going on—take this crackerjack series to new heights.

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 2004
ISBN: 0-312-28784-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2003


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