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
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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