wendell reed

Leading Suspects - Chapter 8

Only because I love you, and I know you want it, and Mondays suck major balls, I present to you a second chapter in one day, @peetabreadgirl. Hopefully this will soothe your needless fears about Delly. ;-)


“I’ve got my eye on you, fleabag,” I mutter as I kneel on the couch backed against one of the windows and stare out at Whiskers as he slinks through Madge’s rose bushes. He lifts his head, eyes glowing eerily in the streetlights as he searches the side of the house, as though he heard me and is searching for the source of his imminent demise. I sigh and try not crawl out of my skin. It’s only been one full day back in town and I’m already going berserk.

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BOOKS TO READ FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH (AND WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’VE FINISHED THEM ALL)

Here at Riverhead, we’ve come up with an incredible list of 5 books to read during Black History Month. But February is only one day shorter than most months, and we know that many of you, voracious readers that you are, may have already read some of these titles, or are just absolute beasts that devour books in a matter of hours. In any case, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. In order to ensure that you do not reach the middle of February with no books left on your TBR list (and suddenly, with a sinking feeling that you have no real purpose in life), we’ve included suggestions for what to do AFTER you’re done reading this list of awesome books.

1) BEFORE YOU SUFFOCATE YOUR OWN FOOL SELF BY DANIELLE EVANS
Here is a beautiful collection of short stories that explores what it means to grapple with fitting in and growing up in a variety of social contexts. With erudition and reflection, Evans tackles just about everything to do with adolescence – gender, sexuality, race, class, and ultimately, the quest to make an identity for oneself in an ever-changing society.

When you’re finished reading….

Make the personal political. Evans’ title borrows from poem “The Bridge” by Donna Kate Rushin, first published in the anthology THIS BRIDGE CALLED MY BACK edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa, and first read by Evans while still in college. This collection of writings from women of color activists and feminists first published in 1981 was just reissued this past year, and is striking for how relevant it remains.

2) WHAT IS NOT YOURS IS NOT YOURS BY HELEN OYEYEMI
From one of Granta’s best young British novelists, comes this mesmerizing and enchanting collection of short stories that all revolve around the theme of keys. At age 25, this is Oyeyemi’s sixth book, but first ever collection of stories. The book will be on sale on March 8, but in the meantime, check out what others are saying and add it to your TBR list, along with Oyeyemi’s novels BOY SNOW BIRD and MR. FOX.

When you’re finished reading….

Dabble in the performing arts with Ntozake Shange. For such a prolific writer, Oyeyemi has remained almost as mysterious and beguiling as her writing. Through her writing, we do get oblique clues as to some of the literature Oyeyemi admires – when one of her characters in her new collection of stories reads the acclaimed play-turned-movie FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE/when the rainbow is enuf, he says to his female peer: “It’s great, isn’t it?”

3) A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEVEN KILLINGS BY MARLON JAMES
From Man Booker prize winner Marlon James, this book that takes place in Jamaica in the 1970s and ‘80s is one that you won’t want to miss.  James was rejected over 80 times when pitching his first novel to agents, and it is unimaginable that the book that is considered by many to become a classic of our time came from a writer that almost gave up the craft entirely.

When you’re finished reading….

Stay inspired like James did by reading Toni Morrison’s SULA. Along with James Joyce, Cormac McCarthy, and Salman Rushdie, James’ literary influences fall along a vast spectrum of literary excellence. But Morrison is the writer that James claimed taught him how to write women, and we have a feeling there are many other lessons awaiting in Morrison’s pages.

4) LAND OF LOVE AND DROWNING BY TIPHANIE YANIQUE
LAND OF LOVE AND DROWNING is a rich book that spans multiple generations across continents and time. The novel took Yanique eleven years to write because of the care with which Yanique draws her character’s histories and experiences – here is a groundbreaking writer whose attention to the importance of story makes for a genuinely moving and emotionally authentic debut.

When you’re finished reading….

Get lost in the literature of the West Indies with THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY MOTHER by Jamaica Kincaid. Like Yanique, Kincaid is a writer who focuses on history and identity, and this newest novel from the much-admired author will take you far into the psyches and experiences of its characters, and will stay with you long after reading.

5) THE WIND IN THE REEDS BY WENDELL PIERCE
The story of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina is told in this tale of art’s transformative impact on a community, and its ability to bring about restoration and revival in the face of disaster. Pierce details his own family history and what he did to rebuild his hometown in New Orleans in this deeply personal and compelling memoir.

When you’re finished reading….

Celebrate the long history of black culture and jazz with Albert Murray’s THE OMNI-AMERICANS. A “militant integrationist” according to Henry Louis Gates, and a friend of Ralph Ellison and artist Romare Bearden, Pierce claims that Murray taught him art’s potential to transcend boundaries between eras and societies: “Murray taught me to see myself and my future as an artist in both particular and universal terms.”

Keep your eyes out for…

THE MOTHERS BY BRIT BENNETT
“All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.”  So begins this much anticipated first novel from writer Brit Bennett that will keep you riveted from start to finish when it comes out this fall.

While you wait…

See what the buzz is all about. Read Bennett’s New Yorker and New York Times articles, which have sparked important discussions in the media and have cemented Bennett as one of the most important young voices today.