Mystery Reviews:
Gary Phillips'
Reviewed by Laverne Appleby-Stewart

Gary Phillips', "PERDITION, U.S.A." (The Berkeley Publishing Group), has a riveting story line which reveals every African American's worse nightmare, that White Supremacist" would form an organized killing spree targeting black Americans. The story begins with the murder of Scatterboy, a small time criminal living in a Los Angeles ghetto. Because of Scatterboy's lifestyle, everyone assumes his killing is gang related. Everyone, that is except his girlfriend, Clarice Moore, who hires Private Investigator, Ivan Monk, to investigate his murder.

Initially, Monk does not want the job because he believes the killing is no more extraordinary than the daily violence occurring in the "Hood." Secondarily, Clarice's fee won't pay his bills. When other murders occur, Monk becomes intrigued with the assignment and finally obsessed with it.

As his investigation progresses, Monk begins to feel an intense rage when he discovers there is a white supremacist connection. Throughout the book, Monk's feelings vacillate between rage and despair. He knows he must remain objective to do his job, however, his sense of outrage overwhelms him at times and he releases it through violence.

Although the plot is exciting, the book was slow to capture my interest. Initially, it had far too many characters and settings. Additionally, the transitions seem choppy giving the appearance that the plot is disjointed and convoluted. Despite these short comings, Perdition, U.S.A. is worth reading a second time.

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