Dying in the Dark Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Dying in the Dark

Ballantine, Oct 2004, 22.95, 240 pp.
ISBN: 0345468066

Tired of the sexism and racism of the Newark Police Department Tamara Hayle quits the force and opens up Hayle Investigative Service. Years later she might not have much money, but she relishes her independence and self reliance, which leaves her very contented.
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One day, a gangster looking male introduces himself as Cecil Jones, the son of Tamara's “used to be best friend” Celia. He wants to hire her to find out who killed his mother because he believes that the mostly white police force is not going to bother to learn who murdered a promiscuous black woman. Tamara wants nothing to do with the case, but agrees because of the plea she sees in Cecil's eyes. He gives Tamara his mother's notebook and several other items that might prove useful and places four hundred dollars in cash on her desk before walking away. A week later, Tamara learns that someone murdered her client, but she continues her inquiries as she is determined to find out who killed Cecil and his mother. Tamara interviews people who knew Celia and realizes that she broke many hearts with one person enacting vengeance.

Cecilia grew up in poverty as an unwanted child with low esteem seeking someone to truly love her, but failed and eventually ended up in the wrong place. Readers see this sad picture through Tamara's flashbacks and muses about their childhood as best “sisters” and through her inquiries.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Dying in the Dark

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   80% Kind of investigator    -   hard boiled/private eye Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   minority/women/gay rights Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   private investigator Ethnicity/Race    -   Black


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Valerie Wilson Wesley Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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