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No. of Recommendations: 1
I have two recomendations:

1. A Twist at the End, by Steven Saylor. Saylor is best known for his Roma Sub Rosa series sent in Ancient Rome (can't wait to get my grubby little hands on his latest!). He is a historian, so his knowledge and incorporation of details is excellent. A Twist at the End is set in his native San Antonio, Texas, in 1885 and tells the story of a real (and still unsolved) series of sexual assaults and murders of servant women, mostly black, but the characters, many of them actual people, span across the social and racial strata of nineteenth century Texas. One of the major characters is an aimless young man named William Sydney Porter, who later was arrested for embezzlement, lived a few months as an expatriat fugitive, served jail time, moved to New York and began writing short stories under the name of O. Henry. Some of the violence in this novel is graphic, but never, ever boring. This is an excellent read. When I got to the last page, I put the book down in my lap, looked at my husband and said, "Wow. I mean... wow."

2. Fearless Jones, by Walter Mosely, the author of Devil in a Blue Dress, among others. Mosely is a hard-boiled detective writer in the same brotherhood as Elmore Leonard and Dashiell Hammet. Most of his characters are working class black citizens (or denizens, as the case may be) of 1950s and 1960s Watts. I have to admit that I'm only halfway through this book, but I've read more than enough to give it a hearty recommendation. I love the writing style as well, but I admit I am a sucker for the hard-boiled detective jargon:

The man was a study in blunt. His hairless head was big and meaty. The dark features might not have been naturally ugly, but they had been battered by a lifetime of hard knocks; broken nose, a rash that had raged and then scarred over the lower left side of his face. His eyebrows seemed to be different sizes, but that might just have been the product of a permanent scowl.

"Wherethegurl?" he asked in a tone so gutteral that for a moment I couldn't make out the words. "Wherethegurl?"

He was about six feet tall (I'm only five eight), but he had the chest and shoulders of someone who should have been much taller. He was a volcano crushed down into just about man size. His clothes were festive, a red Hawaiian shirt and light blue pants. The outfit was ridiculous, like a calico bow on an English bulldog....

I fell to the floor, noticing as I hit that my killer wore leather sandals on bare feet. As I lost consciousness, I thought that if a man was going to kill me, he should at least wear grown-up men's shoes.

Uhura :o)
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