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If You Like African American Fiction ...

African-American fiction can run the gamut from romance to gritty, urban

Some African American mysteries are:

Coq au Vin by Charlotte Carter. Nanette Hayes is a poetry-spouting,
jazz-playing, French speaking Black American Princess who looks like
Grace Jones. Hip, funny and sexy.

The Cold Blue Blood by David Handler. Set in one of New England's "old
money" places, two outsiders are surprised to find they like each other
- a brash, Jewish, New York film critic and beautiful, black female state trooper.

Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely. Blanche White, on the run due to a
mix-up, takes refuge as a maid and reluctant sleuth when the
dysfuntional family turns murderous. Covers serious issues and concerns
but in a funny and upbeat style.

Born Guilty by Reginald Hill. Atypical African-American hero Joe
Sixsmith is middle-aged, balding and British. He is at the mercy of his
nearly-human cat Whitey and his curmudgeonly Aunt Mirabelle. After
being "made redundant" he finds himself in the private eye business.

Cold Medina by Gary Hardwick. A gritty, fast-paced thriller. Detective
Tony Hill must capture a serial killer preying on African-American gang
members in racially tense Detroit.

If mysteries aren't your thing, consider these African-American Fiction titles mostly by and about women:

The Night Before Thirty by Jajuana Butler. The number one syndicated
black radio show sponsors a "night before 30" getaway. The five winners
could not be more different.

Home Repairs by Trey Ellis. The journal of a privileged young black man
as he grows up and grapples with the issues of love and sex.

Live at Five by David Haynes. Buppie TV anchorman Brandon Wilson moves
into the "projects" for a television special and gets caught up in a
media circus and falls in love.

A Taste of Reality by Kimberla Lawson Roby. Anise loses a promotion at
work to a less qualified white colleague. This is just the beginning of her troubles.

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead. Set (perhaps) in the near future
and featuring the city's first black female elevator inspector, this
wildly imaginative tale soars.

Something's Wrong With Your Scale by Van Whitfield. Weighing 75 pounds
more than when the courtship began, food-obsessed Sonny can't stay away
from Marsha's marvelous dishes, even in the middle of their break up.

Meg Raymond
Reference Librarian


Posted - 06/23/2004 : 5:03:55 PM

The Hand I Fan With
by Tina McElroy Ansa
This novel is a sequel to Tina McElroy Ansa's Baby of the Family, in
which readers were introduced to her heroine, Lena McPherson. Lena was
born with a caul over her face, a fold of skin that, according to the
elderly of Mulberry, Georgia, promises good fortune. Indeed, Lena is
blessed--and cursed--with the ability to read minds.

What You Owe Me
by Bebe Moore Campbell

Library Journal
Campbell (Brothers and Sisters) here tells the story of Hosanna Clark, a
black maid in a Los Angeles hotel, and her surprising relationship with
Gilda, a white Jewish immigrant from Poland. Just after World War II,
the women join forces to promote a hand lotion that Gilda makes, with
Gilda managing the financial end of their newborn partnership and
Hosanna hustling the product.

The Man in My Basement: A Novel
Walter Mosley

book description from Amazon
Charles Blakey is a young black man whose life is slowly crumbling. His
parents are dead, he can't find a job, he drinks too much, and his
friends have begun to desert him. Worst of all, he's fallen behind on
the mortgage payments for the beautiful home that's belonged to his
family for generations. When a stranger offers him $50,000 in cash to
rent out his basement for the summer, Charles needs the money too badly
to say no.

Some other authors you may enjoy reading are J. California Cooper,
Donald Goines ( for gritty urban fiction) and Terry McMillian.

Linda von Kelsch
Reference Librarian


Posted - 07/15/2004 : 3:56:29 PM

Some of my favorite African-American fiction titles:

Rocking the Babies by Linda Raymond - volunteer "grandmothers" give
their loving touch to premature babies in an Ohio hospital neonatal
intensive care unit.

Church Folk by Michele Andrea Bowen - Theophilus Henry Simmons is an up
and coming preacher and needs a wife. He is also about the finest black
man many a hopeful mother has ever laid eyes on for their marriage-aged

Erasure by Percival L. Everett - Thelonius Ellison is a published (but
not read!) college professor. Frustrated with obscurity, he writes a
"ghetto prose" book that becomes a surprise best seller.

Buffalo Soldiers by Tom Willard - Tells the story of the bravery, honor
and sacrifice of African-American soldiers in the U. S. Military.

Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter - suspenseful mystery set
partially in Washington D.C. Explores politics, power and family

The Cold Blue Blood by David Handler - can a white Jewish film critic and a
gorgeous black state trooper find love and happiness in the chilly
atmosphere of super-posh Conneticut?

Meg Raymond
Reference Librarian
Salem Church Road branch


Posted - 04/18/2005 : 2:43:39 PM  

For love, African-American style, try:

Baby Momma Drama by Carl Weber. A raunchy romp with a couple of
bed-hopping couples.

Dad Interrupted by Van Whitfield. Shawn Wayne has found his soul-mate in
Dawn. But he will probably lose her if his ex-girlfriend is, indeed,
pregnant with his baby.


Posted - 04/27/2007 : 3:18:26 PM
Here are a few websites for general information on African American authors:

African American Literature Book Club

African American Voices in Popular Fiction

Black Fiction Writers

Random House Reading Group Guides
(Use the drop down menu to browse by category, African-American
Interests. Not all are written by African American authors.)

Wikipedia: List of African-American Writers

Michele R. Brown
Reference Librarian