WHEN DEATH COMES STEALING by Valerie Wilson Wesley


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 Smart-talking single mom Tamara Hayle is a gumshoe with a personal problem: Her ex-husband DeWayne Curtis's sons (with various former partners) are dying, and she fears for her own progeny, Jamal. DeWayne hires her to investigate because he doesn't buy the police theories that Terrence was a junkie and DeWayne Jr. (whose existence was unknown to Tamara until Terrence's death) was shot by another young man. Believing that the police rarely take the time to investigate the deaths of young black men, DeWayne comes to Tamara. In her adult hardcover debut Wesley, executive editor of Essence magazine, has created a narrator whose claim of being ``a Newark girl at heart'' seems authentic. Her descriptions of other characters are quick and often funny, even in grim situations (at Terrence's funeral she observes that one of DeWayne's ex-wives is ``the kind who make their own pie crusts and never give their lovers head''). Tamara also lusts after one of DeWayne's enemies, an untrustworthy Jamaican businessman, and her longtime friend Jake, who is married to a mentally unstable woman he cannot leave. Her colorful personality and cultural insight spice up a serviceable plot. Reads like a successful collaboration between Terry McMillan and Sue Grafton. (First serial to Essence; author tour; paperback to Avon)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-399-13949-4
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1994


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