RARA-AVIS: Norman Kelley

From: K Montin ( kmontin@total.net)
Date: 05 Jul 2002

Another "el"-type crime writer.

I picked up The Big Mango at the library. It is published by Akashic, which also published Adios Muchachos and Jose Latour's Outcast (indicated as out of print: has anyone else reprinted it?), so I thought it was a good bet.

The author has all kinds of credentials as a journalist and one other book about Nina Halligan, PI, under his belt. The story concerns a Caribbean island nation called Misericordia, which seems modelled on Haiti. Its president calls Nina for help, but that's as far as I got. The book begins with background on Misericordia's history, then moves into the story proper, with lots of discussion of Caribbean and African-American politics.

Anyway, the word "peazant," repeated a number of times, made me wonder if I was missing some sort of political connotations, or if it was just the editing that was really bad. Thirty-four excruciating pages later, I decided the writer and editor together were too much for me.

I had been looking forward to an exciting story featuring an African-American woman as a tough private investigator and was sorely disappointed. Has anyone tried Black Heat and found it worth recommending?


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