September Whodunit

No single person decides what my book group will read. Well . . . kinda. At each meeting we select one member to present three books for our upcoming read. We pick these books two months in advance to ensure that there is enough time for members to order books online (especially out-of-print) copies and/or make requests from their local library/bookstore.

Each month we select a different genre. This also means that previous genres are excluded. For example, we have already read books from the speculative and general fiction genres. Therefore, for the month of September, one of our member’s selected three books from the mystery genre. This member is also required to select a restaurant or location for the meeting. Check out the books we voted on for our September read:

Cookie Cutter by Sterling Anthony

Isaac Shaw, a respected African-American Alabama mortician, tries but fails to escape his sordid past. In 1967 he impregnated a white teenage girl, “adopted” the son she bore seconds before her death and stuffed her body in someone else’s casket. Moving to Detroit with his barren wife and new son, Eugene, Shaw establishes a funeral home empire and climbs the social ladder. Because Eugene looks white, he doesn’t fit into the black community. He experiences “the intraracial backlash against fair-skinned blacks,” and at the same time, a sense of guilt that he has escaped racial bigotry. In a desperate urge to claim his black heritage, he becomes an artist specializing in African-American images. He also becomes delusional, with a murderous mission. Meanwhile, Lt. “Bloody Mary” Cunningham, along with others of the Detroit Police’s Homicide Squad, investigate a string of murders with a distinctive feature. The killer is targeting conservative African-Americans, and his victims hold an Oreo cookie in their hands…

Color of Justice by Gary Hardwick

Set in Detroit, the book opens with the torture murder of a wealthy black couple, John and Lenora Baker, pillars of the city’s African-American society. The case falls to homicide detective Danny Cavanaugh, a white cop raised as the only Caucasian kid in a black neighborhood. Cavanaugh possesses a deep understanding of black culture that gives him an instinctual edge in sorting through the suspects, all of whom invested in a cash-eating Internet company that went belly up. The case, however, shifts suddenly when another member of Detroit’s black power circle is killed in the same way as the Bakers. It dawns on Cavanaugh that all the victims have been light-skinned blacks, those who often find the most favor with the white population and sometimes elicit the most scorn from blacks with darker complexions. Cavanaugh finds himself not only plowing into a politically sensitive case but one that leads down a prickly racial path.

Somebody Else’s Child by Terris McMahan Grimes

Theresa Galloway is a professional woman with a demanding job, a husband and a family to care for…and a seventy-something mother who gets into more than her share of mischief. So when her mother calls at 3 a.m. to say there’s trouble at her elderly neighbor’s house, and she’s going over to investigate, a worried Theresa has no choice but to get involved. Before the night is over, Theresa will find herself caught up in the harsh brutality of the streets, with a drive-by shooting, a mysterious kidnapping, and a growing pile of still-warm bodies to keep her busy. It is up to her, with the able assistance of her mother, to sort the whole mess out.

We did a tie-breaker vote between Color of Justice and Somebody Else’s Child. The latter was the winner. Happy reading, y’all.

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