I haven’t written a book review in over a month. Wowsers!
Recently, I finished Plain Brown Wrapper by Karen Grigsby Bates. This story follows Alex Powell, current journalist for the Los Angeles Standard, who has been sent on a manhunt (by her boss at the newspaper and the police who dont want no problems with the Black folk) searching for the killer of her former boss, Everett Carson, who seems to have been killed during the annual National Association of Black Journalists Convention, right before he was due to recieve the Journalist of the Year Award for the work done on his magazine.
Powell is joined by her ex’s best friend, Paul Butler, a writer on the East coast who was with Powell when Ev was discovered lifeless in his hotel room. Paul also happens to look more delectable to Powell as they spend days together traipsing throughout DC, Martha’s Vineyard, New York, and San Francisco, hobnobbing with all of the Black elite in publishing who had an extreme dislike for Ev, either for his womanizing ways, or his ruthlessness throughout his career.
The book takes a turn from a mystery who dunit, to a “how do bourgie Black folks live behind closed doors” novel. And that would almost be ok, if the story wasnt marketed as a mystery, and didnt spend paragraph after paragraph detailing clothes, perfumes, accessories, hairstyles, homes and restaurants. Even though Ev lost his life in the first chapter, I was 100 pages in and Alex had yet to do any investigating. Talk about being exasperated!
I did, however, get caught up in the innocent attraction Alex had with her sleuthing partner, Paul, which helped me bulldoze thru the last 200 pages in under three days. Will they hook up? Will they fall out? WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN? If it had not been for the romantic angle that creeped on me out of nowhere, I doubt I would have finished the book.
Even though the book was somewhat of a chore, I strangely feel the need to read the sequel, Chosen People. Call me nosey (or a romantic), but I really want to see if Alex and Paul live happily ever after.
I’d recommend this for readers looking for light fare, or those who enjoy chick lit. Mystery lovers may not be too satisfied with the plot, premise, or ending, but if you enjoy subtle romances that include a snappy, sarcastic protaganist, pick this one up.