African-American Mysteries

Whether it's the smoky jazz joints of New York or a multi-racial housing project in Los Angeles, justice comes to the streets in shades of sable.

Out of the Frying Pan: A Chef's Memoir of Hot Kitchens, Single Motherhood, and the Family Meal

By Gillian Clark

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"... an empowering memoir that traces Gillian Clark's rise from a beginner to a top chef. But managing a kitchen also taught her about parenting. With a wealth of experience and wisdom, and a healthy dash of humor, Gillian now shares her life's recipes, from the solutions she cooked up for parenting challenges to her favorite culinary creations. In the prime of her life, Gillian Clark abandoned the corporate world to pursue her passion---making mouthwatering food with fresh, homegrown ingredients. When she became a single parent with two young daughters, though, Gillian had to reconsider her dreams. Moving to the country and running a small, artisanal farm were put on the back burner---supporting her family had to come first. But Gillian's drive to make delicious food was relentless. She finished her culinary degree, survived the tedious prep work of her first cooking job and the difficulty of training during the day and raising two girls at night, and confronted the challenges of working her way up from the bottom in a profession where only the strongest survive. Beating intense odds, Gillian is now head chef and proprietor of the successful and popular Colorado Kitchen, which is ranked among the top 100 restaurants in Washington, D.C."

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Devil in a Blue Dress

By Walter Mosley

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"Devil in a Blue Dress honors the tradition of the classic American detective novel by bestowing on it a vivid social canvas and the freshest new voice in crime writing in years, mixing the hard-boiled poetry of Raymond Chandler with the racial realism of Richard Wright to explosive effect."
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Fearless Jones

By Walter Mosley

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"Paris Minton is minding his own business--a small used bookstore of which he is the proud proprietor--when a beautiful woman named Elana Love walks in and asks a few questions. Within the next twenty-four hours, Paris has been beaten up, made love to, shot at, and robbed, and his bookstore has been burned to the ground. He's in so much trouble he has no choice but to get his friend Fearless Jones out of jail to help. Fearless Jones is an army veteran, a man who is proud of his accomplishments during World War II, and refuses to step into the background now that the war is over. Violence dogs Fearless's every step, and Paris has tried to keep his distance. But there's no friend like the one you need. The two set out to find the elusive Elana Love, and every step leads them deeper into a bewildering vortex of money and betrayal."

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Jass

By David Fulmer

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In the rowdy red-light district of Storyville, four players of the new music they call "jass" have turned up dead. When Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr begins to investigate, he discovers that every one of the victims once played in the same band, and the only one left alive has gone into hiding. As he digs deeper, Valentin becomes convinced that a shadowy woman is the key to the mystery. His efforts to find her touch nerves, and soon Tom Anderson, known as the "King of Storyville," police lieutenant J. Picot, and even the mayor of New Orleans want him off the case. It's all the proof Valentin needs that there is something even larger and darker at the heart of this sordid business.

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Fever Season

By Barbara Hambly

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"The summer of 1833 has been one of brazen heat and brutal pestilence, as the city is stalked by Bronze John--the popular name for the deadly cholera epidemic that tests the healing skills of doctor and voodoo alike. Benjamin January's Paris medical training keeps him all night long with the dying at Charity Hospital. Then his work as a music teacher takes him out again into the fetid, empty midday streets. Empty except for Cora Chouteau, a dark-skinned plantation waif come to town in search of her lover, sold in slavery to one of its prominent families. Though January's certain she's a runaway, he agrees to try to pass a message to the man she seeks. Soon, however, he learns that Cora is accused of murdering her lecherous master, Otis Redfern, and poisoning his wife almost to death. And of stealing five thousand dollars and a pearl necklace. Yet it seems that Emily Redfern herself, iron-willed and socially ambitious, had cause to wish her profligate husband dead. And Cora, too--or so the girl insists.... Before Ben can unpick one story from the other, Cora disappears into the torrid night."
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When Death Comes Stealing

By Valerie Wilson Wesley

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Struggling as a single mother to make ends meet on the mean streets of Newark, New Jersey, ex-cop-turned-PI Tamara Hayle races against time to find a murderer when someone begins killing her ex-husband's sons--and her own son might be next.

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Sympathy for the Devil: An Angela Bivens Thriller

By Christopher Chambers

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"Be careful what you wish for . . .
FBI Special Agent Angela Bivens has just won a hard-fought racial and sex discrimination lawsuit against the Bureau. She should be euphoric -- all she ever wanted to be was a field agent. But the women she filed the suit with have fled the Bureau, leaving Angela alone to deal with her cynical, ultrapolitical superiors. They throw her a bone by sending her to help the befuddled and apathetic D.C. police solve two seemingly unrelated cases -- the brutal murder of two teenage girls and the macabre, ritualized executions of rival drug dealers."
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Blood Red Blues: A Harlem Noir Introducting Devil Barnett

By Teddy Hayes

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Devil Barnett is a CIA agent with a talent for eliminating special problems--a talent he used for fifteen years. But when his father is killed in his own bar, Devil leaves the Company to come home to run the Be-Bop bar and finds Harlem greatly changed from his boyhood home, overrun with drugs, gangs, and self-serving politicians.

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Hard Revolution

By George Pelecanos

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"...[A] story of two brothers--one a rookie police officer, one a recently returned Vietnam veteran-caught up in the chaos that engulfed D.C. in 1968, when riots followed the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Derek Strange is his family's straight arrow, but his older brother Dennis has always had a harder time.Home from the war and in several varieties of trouble, Dennis is in danger of making one bad decision too many.While Derek tries to be there for Dennis, no amount of brotherly love can save Dennis from Alvin Jones, a local drug dealer who draws him into his web."
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I, Alex Cross

By James Patterson

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Detective Alex Cross is pulled out of a family celebration and given the awful news that a beloved relative has been found brutally murdered. Alex vows to hunt down the killer, and soon learns that she was mixed up in one of Washington's wildest scenes. And she was not this killer's only victim.

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