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In this mystery, an Atlanta homicide detective sets out to prove a suspect is killing people with a biological agent.

Detective Aisha Sawyer has a theory about the death of record company executive Kendall “Trap” Miller and the perilous state of medical student Meegan Appleton, currently on life support. Sawyer believes someone used a biological agent as a weapon, as both victims were infected with rabies but had no bite marks on their bodies. The detective is certain the culprit is Trap’s ex-fiancee, Chosen. But Sgt. Jeffrey “Gil” Gilliam and even Sawyer’s partner, Detective Jeremy Travis, focus on Dr. Edward Cofield, who has the expertise as well as a rumored affair with Meegan. Chosen’s background, in contrast, is murky, including her real name. But she is full of surprises, starting with having the finances to become the majority shareholder of Trap’s hip-hop label, Hustle Hard Entertainment. She also entices Sawyer’s husband, Darius, the former member of a jazz band, The Elect, with a chance to record new music. It seems Chosen is trying to sidetrack the detective who’s unmistakably designated her as a murder suspect. Accordingly, Sawyer searches for evidence that Chosen is capable of stealthy, chemically induced crimes, which soon entail another killing and a disappearance. Both the protagonist and villain of Palmer’s (The Harvest, 2018, etc.) novel are, refreshingly, strong African American women. Sawyer never wavers in her determination to prove Chosen guilty; her certainty is not instinct, she says, but rather “metaphysical intelligence.” Meanwhile, people (mostly men) underestimate Chosen, who quickly amasses power as a company owner. Though the tale eventually reveals whether or not Chosen is a killer, mysteries remain, such as her unknown past. Nevertheless, the author focuses on searing melodrama, complicating characters’ lives, with Sawyer suspecting Darius of infidelity and the story disclosing her history with Travis, whose life she once saved. These subplots help generate a brisk narrative that moves readers all the way to a twisty ending that’s odd but juicy while the concluding “To be continued” guarantees a sequel.

A taut murder tale that pits two enthralling black women against each other.

Pub Date: May 28th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-73396-330-5
Page count: 332pp
Publisher: Black Wren Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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