Little, Brown, Feb 2003, 24.95, 341 pp.
The case against drug dealer Granville Oliver is so tight that state execution is a sure shot especially since his deputy Philip Wood testified against him. Desperate, Granville's attorney hire DC private investigator Derek Strange to coax Wood's former girlfriend Devra Stokes, who once filed a brutality complaint against him, to testify so she can destroy his credibility leading to life instead of death for his client.
At the same time, Strange's partner, former cop Terry Quinn's has a client, pathetic small time hood Mario Durham, who hires him to find his missing girlfriend Olivia Elliot. Mario is the older brother of the head of the notorious Six-hundred Crew in Washington Highlands. Terry knows his client lies about love forever, etc., as Terry wants his stolen drugs that she took from him. Other sleuths also work cases, as DC is a place for job security for private investigators.
The eleventh appearance of Derek Strange is a powerful private investigative tale that shows how little society is doing to help teens make it. The Durham siblings are on the career path of criminality with no detours. Even prison time will do no more than slow down the pace of their fall. Guns and butter are the market place as both can be purchased easily and relatively cheaply. Still even with such a strong message, the tale is loaded with action, plenty of life and death scenes, and the return of long time characters like Foreman, and a surprise guest appearance by Nick Stefanos. This gritty urban thriller will leave most readers agreeing with the hero's thankful belief that his home is an oasis of love and care in a deadly desert.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner