Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Walker Takes Series Up A Notch With Great Second Novel!

Confederate FlagImage by pixxiestails via Flickr
"She lies at the bottom of the beige Jacuzzi tub, arms at
her sides as though reposing in a funeral bier. Like that
of a mermaid, her long black hair fans around her head,
buoyed by an inch or so of water. This poor soul had
been a dark-skinned cutie in life, on the petite side and,
I'm guessing, in her late thirties or early forties...
"It's clear that someone meant to defile this woman and
her memory, and they've done so with a simple act by
placing a small Confederate flag on her forehead. ..
"In a society awash with symbols, few pack the
visceral punch and conjure such deep-rooted pain for
African-Americans as that ugly icon of the Confederacy."


Hidden In Plain View


A Darryl Billups
  Mystery


By Blair S. Walker







Darryl Billups has been promoted since we met him in Up Jumped The Devil. He had gone to another job but commuting to see Yolanda, who had moved in with Darryl while he was working the NAACP bombing plot investigation, plus missing his home town, brought him back to the negotiation table and he's now working as an editor...at least until a new serial killer is stalking Baltimore...

You know, I always wonder whether an author, when choosing to create a series, purposely decides to build his series so that the books keep getting better and better. Whether planned or not, Blair S. Walker has succeeded in surpassing his opening novel! Already I'm looking forward to the next in the series...

Darryl is surprised when Lt. Gardner calls him to come to the scene of the latest murder. Darryl has not been a street reporter since he became editor, but when his friend and partner in the NAACP investigation calls him, he knows he needs to go himself...

And when the managing editor learns that he's been called in by the police to work with them, he is allowed to step back into his investigating reporter role, especially when Gardner has an attack while they were having coffee, is taken to the hospital, and later dies. Darryl is determined to work the case, even if they won't hold his editor position for him!

While trying to work with Gardner's partner, Donatelli, there just isn't any trust for either of them to permit their routinely sharing information, but when forensics discovers nothing at any of the crime scenes, a grudging relationship begins to develop.

And then another murder takes place in Atlanta and Darryl is allowed to travel there on behalf of the newspaper, taking along with him copies of police reports and his earlier news items for the local newspaper staff and police there. But while there, he is pulled personally into the investigation when the killer learns who he is and decides to kill him!

I was surprised by the identity of the killer as well as the method of the murders--makes for good reading for this whodunit mystery lover! The novel included quite a lot of character activity. I thoroughly enjoyed the side story of Yolanda's twin, LaToya, visiting and Darryl's continuous comparison of the two sisters! A merging relationship between LaToya and Darryl's friend Dawg also provides some light humor, but grows more intense when the killer starts after Darryl, or his family... I was sorry to lose Gardner since I had so enjoyed his interaction in the first novel...but then, we have a new managing editor coming in, who I know already is going to be a prominent character I'll enjoy.

Learning the perspective of African-Americans via fiction has been and continues to be a learning experience for me. I knew from my own friendships through the year that there is usually an undercurrent to the relationships I've had, prior to my getting to know and enjoy the individuals as friends. I admire and respect Darryl Billups as a professional and family man. That he happens to be an African American fictional character non-verbally allows me to better understand and improve my own perceptions and knowledge. I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn about cultural differences in such a fun and enjoyable way!

Aside from that, the book was great and can be highly recommended to whodunit mystery fans and those who enjoy getting to know characters in fictional series.

Book Obtained Via
Amazon Vine Program


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