HOWARD STREET by Nathan C. Heard


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Howard Street is the action street in any slum. It's where it's happening and Mr. Heard (one of the new breed of prison authors--still serving time) obviously knows it well and tells it well in this raw, cynical, violent portrait. Mainly this is about two Negro brothers, Franchot, a ""squarc,"" and his tenacious love for his junkie sibling ""Hip"" who is living the Howard Street version of the good life--Hip has ""turned out"" Gypsy Pearl, now the most beautiful hooker on the block. After a battle in which Hip and Gypsy carve up a non-paying customer, Franchot takes them in, again hoping to rehabilitate Hip and to keep his mind off Gypsy who sees in Franchot traces of what she once found in Hip. Soon Hip is hustling, using both of them. Turning in on itself like a cesspool, never changing, the street life continues. There's Jackie Brown, new a wine, once a college student who thought he could change the Street and his people and drifted into disillusionment. And there's little Jimmy Johnson who once Idolized Jackie and now will eventually destroy him. And there's Slim McNair, the sadistic little colored cop who uses his badge brutally, particularly if the victim's skin is black. There's gang rape, murder and one of the most devastating looks at the mystique of addiction right here where the code is ""A man can't fool with the Golden Rule in a crowd that don't play fair."" Not a nice place to visit but you won't forget it.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Dial