St. Martin's, Jun 2003, 23.95, 320 pp.
In a run down Philadelphia project THE BRIDGE, nine-year-old Kenya Brown disappears. Assigned to the case is African-American detectives Kevin Lynch and Roxanne Wilson. Kevin comes from these projects and knows Kenya's guardian is his childhood friend crack dealer Aunt Judy.
The evidence points towards Judy's lover and business partner Sonny Williams who is an alleged child abuser and has conveniently vanished too. The cops feel if they find Sonny, they will find Kenya, hopefully alive and not violated. However, Sonny is a pro in evading the law something he learned as a drug dealer. The two police detectives know that each minute that passes most likely means bad things have happened to Kenya.
Though the investigation and subsequent police search is fun, this tale has a deeper message about an abundant society ignoring abject poverty and its consequences. Readers will taste the despondency of the ghettos whose basic outputs are violence and other undesirable behavior. The heroes are those select few trying to make a better life outside the hood for their children. This is a strong condemnation of a “compassionate” America written within a solid police procedural.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner