Former firefighter Earl W. Emerson writes two very interesting mystery series: one about small-town Washington State fire chief Mac Fontana and another about Seattle private investigator Thomas Black. All of Emerson's stories are haunted by ghosts from his characters' pasts, and none more so than this latest, where Emerson sends Black on a long, tangled, and not always obvious search through the roots of the African American family of his former police partner, Luther Little. Little's daughter has disappeared, leaving behind a car full of bullet holes, a dead young white man, and nine birth certificates that raise lots of troubling questions about fraud and parental responsibility. As Black grapples with ancient crimes and current human failure, his sharp and sexy lawyer wife, Kathy Birchfield, is--as always--on hand to keep him focussed. Other Thomas Black books in paperback: Deception Pass, The Million-Dollar Tattoo, Nervous Laughter. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Emerson's works, consistently fast-paced, moving and richly evocative of the Pacific Northwest, often create more questions than they answer. In this 11th in the Thomas Black series (Deception Pass, 1997), the roots of the mystery stem from old secrets haunting the extremely dysfunctional extended family of Black's former police partner, Luther Little. Little, an African American, asks Black, a PI, to help him locate his missing daughter, Balinda, and find out who killed the young white man found dead in her car. Black is sure the answers lie in the family's past. In a number of beautifully written scenes, Emerson employs dialogue and description expertly to reveal character: the victim's fianc?e preventing his father from robbing her of all her mementos; Black interviewing the dead man's astute, dying mother; Balinda's grandmother asking Black puzzles to avoid answering his questions. The story, which includes another murder, is tantalizing, complex and engrossing, fueled by themes of prejudice and parental responsibility that cut across race, class and gender. By its conclusion, Little's remaining family members are drawn closer together, but the solution, which lies in the present, not the past, will likely leave readers more interested in the mysteries and variety of human behavior than in explications.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I've read all of Emerson's books, and this one just wasn't quite as great as the rest of them. It's hard to find fault with this writer since his protagonist is such a likeable... Read morePublished on Oct. 6 2000
PI Thomas Black, an ex-Seattle cop, is asked by his old partner, Luther, for help finding Luther's daughter. Read morePublished on June 14 2000 by Meg Brunner
This was the first of the Thomas Black mysteries that I have read and I am hooked. Emerson keeps the action going in each chapter and the ending was unpredictable. Read morePublished on Jan. 28 2000 by Steve 1962