BLINKING RED LIGHT by Mister Mann Frisby

BLINKING RED LIGHT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Those unfamiliar with rap or hip-hop will need a glossary to follow this X-rated morality tale, originally self-published, about a young hustler who begins to see the error of his ways after his best friend double-crosses him.

It’s summer of 2001 in North Philly. The unnamed narrator and his friend Dex earn money having sex on video with the wives of men, mostly white, who owe money to a local mob-connected bookie. When said bookie turns up murdered, the police put out the word that they are looking for two young black men, so the narrator and Dex leave town. The narrator, who lives with his saintly mother and has a year of community college under his belt to let us know he has potential, is innocent. Although he has an inkling Dex is involved, he wants to trust his best friend, even after Dex boffs the girlfriend of someone who puts them up while they’re on the lam. Back in Philly, Dex shows up with a new thuggish friend Herb. After his cell phone accidentally tapes an incriminating conversation between Dex and Herb, the narrator realizes that those two are responsible for the murder. Nevertheless, he lets them drag him to North Carolina for another sex-for-money deal. In Durham, the narrator meets Onyx, who is working her way through Duke and is a nice Christian girl in contrast to all the other skanky young women in the book. Once the narrator has final proof that Dex is a double-crossing scum bag, he and Dex become entwined in a cat and mouse game. Blackmail threats, thefts, kidnappings, beatings, and a few more dead bodies lead to a hotel-roof gun battle. Ultimately the narrator, with the help of his good woman, has gone straight, while Dex ends up at the World Trade Center on September 11.

What is offensively coarse to some may be graphic reality to others.

Pub Date: May 4th, 2004
ISBN: 1-59448-019-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2004