St. Martin's, Sep 2002, 24.95, 352 pp.
Kennedy James is not sure if she is unhappy with herself or her lover wealthy businessman Simpson Stone, who enjoys kinky love especially with him in control in bed. Even outside he must be in charge so she wonders why she still sees him at the cost of her freedom.
At the University of Texas Consolidated, football has climbed in popularity with the success of the team led by sure shot future professionals Marshall Coates and Rorey Garland. Rumors spread that Rorey is gay because he is a BMOC and yet no one ever sees him with a woman. However, Rorey tells his best friend Marshall that he loves females, but now suffers from AIDS caught from his last girlfriend, a name on the decease's shroud wall. As Rorey considers suicide he has one last fling, but sets in motion the spread of the deadly illness to others like Kennedy who begins the journey from denial to acceptance with the help of an assistance group, Autumn Leaves.
This well written modern day drama focuses on the AIDS epidemic and other social issues jolting the African-American college and professional communities, but is also a microcosm of modern society as a whole. The story line works because author Victor McGlothin avoids sugar coating the ravages of AIDS and keeps his ensemble quite human with errors and misjudgment. Though some of the tertiary characters speak like stereotypical forms, this serious novel will hook the audience with its somber message that death in the form of illnesses like AIDS knows no contrived human boundary.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner