BOOKNOTES

   

 

B-More Careful
Shannon Holmes
List Price: $14.95

 

A sensational work of fiction by Shannon Holmes is bound to win him throngs of admiring readers. Sex and drugs, betrayal and revenge, among lowlife street types in a Baltimore ghetto and the partial redemption of the heroine, are some of the themes treated by this fast-paced action-filled novel that also happen to have a great deal of popular appeal in a popular culture reflecting its own vulgarity back upon itself.

Growing up on the cold, mean, inner-city streets of Baltimore, without a father and with a dope-fiend of a mother, Netta, becomes the leader of an all girl gang and learns at an early age how to use her beauty and sell her body to get the things she wants: money cars, and jewelry and material things of this sort. Without direction, always hassling for money, Netta meets Black, a local drug dealer, vulgar and uneducated like her but also brutally violent. He harbors a deep-seated hatred for New Yorkers, and finds sadistic ways to express it. He falls head over heals "in love" with her, only to discover that Netta is only after his money. He is brokenhearted and seeks the ultimate revenge, initiating a cycle of deadly violence. The cycle is finally broken by a redeemed Netta, and life finally wins out in the end.

This fast-paced novel offers raw excitement and realism without celebrating drug-dealing and brutal inner-city violence. The characters are realistically drawn and they discourse among themselves in believable inner-city lingo. All in all, a highly entertaining story, with doubtful redemptive value perhaps, but nonetheless a powerful depiction of the sort of environment decent people in the inner city must live in on a daily basis, and of the ways and lives of some of the not-so-decent-types that also populate it. Shall we say shame on society!

 

 

 
BLIND AMBITIONS
Lolita Files
$ 13.00 / Paperback / 290 pages
ISBN 0684871440
Scribner Paperback Fiction / 2001

Fiction / Women / African-American Fiction

Lolita Files, the author of the widely acclaimed novels Scenes from a Sistah and Getting to the Good Part, has written another dynamic and engaging story filled with the dialogue, memorable characters, and suspense that moved so many readers of Files’s earlier works. Blind Ambitions, served up in the Lolita Files-style brings to life an entire new cast of likeable, fascinating, and sometimes tragic characters in fresh situations with west coast flavor.

Her current page-turner is about making it big in Hollywood, the city of desire, the place people go to fulfill their dreams. But the reality of the naïve dreamer’s paradise is a merciless and vicious one: As the opportunities are few and the competition ruthless, this is no place for simplicity. Honesty in others can be assumed at one’s peril. Simplicity gives way to cynicism fast, and innocent hearts can suddenly turn dark. In this city, where the goddess of success is exclusively worshiped, and all the other gods are hubristically neglected, when the stakes get high enough the most loyal of friends can suddenly turn into bitter enemies.

Desi, Sharon, and Bettina are three black women struggling to make names for themselves amid the glitz, glamour and deception prevailing in the entertainment industry. Before each of the likable women characters can be swept away by the intrigue and intensity of this industry, they must answer to the desperate calls from the ghosts of their pasts. If they do, however, the shadows of infidelity, abandonment, and murder larking on the sidelines, can destroy everything they’ve worked for. Nemesis can only be ignored for so long; but when she finally strikes, it is with a vengeance that sweeps everything on its way, and once happy lives turn into dust.

This novel has a vitality and energy that makes it hard to put down. Her unsurpassed flair for dialogue and narrative drama—often emulated, but never quite duplicated—makes this an easy book to finish. With three sharply drawn, strong, and spirited women at its center, Blind Ambitions unfolds a blockbuster plot pulsing with intrigue. Lolita Files packs her flashy and irreverent tale with Hollywood shoptalk and an insider’s experience of entertainment-business situations that make for a fast, entertaining read that is sexy and suspenseful as it is morally instructive.

Propelled by palpable flesh-and-blood characters, plus plenty of warmth, fire, humor, and insight, Blind Ambitions is sure to thrill Lolita File’s legions of fans and win her new readers…. Buy this book

 
 

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