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BABY BROTHER’S BLUES by Pearl Cleage

BABY BROTHER’S BLUES

By Pearl Cleage

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-345-48110-0
Publisher: One World/Ballantine

Cleage returns to the idealized African-American world of Some Things I Never Thought I’d Do (2003), this time combining romance with a noirish criminal melodrama.

Former singing star Blue Hamilton has married Regina, the heroine of Some Things. Now expecting her first child, she has begun to worry when Blue goes off for hours on “business.” Blue’s business is to do whatever it takes to make sure his Atlanta neighborhood of West End remains a little Eden for its black inhabitants. Regina, and readers, must accept that if he sometimes uses deadly means, his cause is righteous. Blue’s driver and chief aide is General, his best friend from childhood. General’s big secret: He was deeply in love with Blue’s mother for 20 years. On her deathbed she promised to send him a sign from the other side. When he sees her birthmark on the back of a local stripper, he has to force himself to begin a relationship with the girl although she feels culturally and ethically challenged. Meanwhile, a young army deserter named Baby Brother moves into the neighborhood and manipulates his way into Blue’s good graces. To make some extra money, Baby also hustles Kwame Hargrove, the secretly gay married son of Precious Hargrove, a rising politician with morals to match her ambition. Baby Brother also pursues General’s new stripper girlfriend. Then Baby Brother turns up dead in Kwame’s loft. A crooked cop who has been trailing Kwame since she stumbled onto his secret life smells blackmail, although she’s convinced that Kwame is no murderer.

An unconvincing mishmash of violence, spiritual uplift and Hallmark romance.