Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia
Harlem Renaissance Mystery #1
06/01/2021 by Berkley
I’ve been on a historical mystery binge for the last year or so and have devoured one series after another. I saw the cover reveal for Dead Dead Girls on Twitter, read the blurb, and then immediately put it on my TBR wishlist. I mean who can resist gorgeous women drinking illegal booze in speakeasies and dancing with each other all night long while a killer is on the loose in Harlem? Definitely not me.
Dead Dead Girls features a strong, fabulous, black lesbian protagonist named Louise Lloyd. When the book opens she is the victim of a kidnapping and fights to rescue herself as well as several other girls taken from a mysterious villain. She becomes the Hero of Harlem. Years later there is a series of murders of young black women in and around Harlem and after getting into an altercation with a police officer while trying to save another young woman, is arrested and soon realizes the only way she is getting out of a jail sentence is to help the lead detective with his case. Louise may be uniquely qualified to help find the killer, but she’s also just a normal woman working at a cafe by day, living in a group home, and spending her evenings with her girlfriend dancing and drinking the night away. But she doesn’t have a choice.
I enjoyed this mystery very much. So many twists and turns and Louise is a wonderful narrator. The pacing kept me flipping pages and the mystery was well done. I started to get a feel of who the killer might be around the 60% mark, and couldn’t wait to see if I was correct. If I have any complaint it’s that the details of what happens immediately after Louise catches the killer are kind of fast-forwarded and glossed over.
She is also surrounded by a lovely cast of supporting characters and I hope to see them and Louise very soon solving more mysteries.
Final grade- B
Tempting Fate by Kerrigan Byrne
Goode Girls # 4
05/11/2021 Self Published
Finally! Gabriel and Felicity get their love story. If you’ve read the previous three books in the Goode Girls series, you’ve already met these love birds and are aware that Gabriel is one of the Sauvageau brothers and is severely disfigured. After the events of the previous book, while his brother and new bride left the city, Gabriel stayed behind to undergo several surgeries on his face. His plan was to meet up with Raphael later, under a new name, and leave their life of crime behind.
But he just can’t seem to forget Felicity Goode.
Felicity believes Gabriel to be dead because that is what she has been told. So when she meets a scarred and intimidating man hanging around her house she assumes he is there to answer an advertisement she put out looking to hire a man for protection. Gabriel, who is now going by his new name Gareth, is swept into the house and into her employ and once he hears of why she is hiring protection, can’t say no. Even though he knows this is a very bad idea. But Felicity doesn’t seem to recognize him so he’ll stay until he finds the person threatening her and make her safe again.
Gabriel and Felicity are lovely together. This is the beauty and the beast trope featuring a tortured, scarred hero and a caring, underestimated heroine. He’s physically strong but emotionally broken and she’s vulnerable but has a full and open heart. Their differences complement each other and I truly enjoyed their emotional connection, chemistry, and ultimately their HEA.
As this is book four of a series, there is a lot of backstory and world-building that have already been laid out. I wouldn’t start here but would recommend going back to the beginning and reading the first book, A Dark and Stormy Knight, featuring Sir Carlton Morley and Prudence Goode. This has been an enjoyable series and I look forward to getting to know the newfound Goode siblings in the upcoming releases.
Final grade- B