by Julie Smith
Forge, May, 2001.
Hardcover, 320 pages.
By day, Talba Willis is a hip young African American computer expert. By night, she becomes the Baroness de Portalba, a rising star in the New Orleans poetry scene. One day, Talba answers an ad from a private investigator who needs an assistant, and after some quick computer research and a sassy interview she lands a job as an apprentice p.i. with Eddie Valentino, an aging, grumpy private investigator that can't quite get rid of his preconceived notions of how women ought to behave. The oddball couple have more in common than you might think, however. They both have strained relationships with their families, are outspoken, and at heart are good people. The two investigate a case of child molestation against a man who is only known as "Toes". Soon the investigation leads to a famous rapper and his posse, and to extreme danger for both Talba and Eddie.
We first met the vibrant Talba in 82 Desire, one of the books in the popular Skip Langdon series. Now Talba has a compelling new series of her own. At the same time that Talba is investigating the the mysterious Toes, she also is investigating some very disturbing memories which are surfacing from her past. Talba's mother, Miz Clara (who is eccentric, funny and despairs of Talba ever becoming something respectable, like president of the U.S.) absolutely refuses to talk about Talba's father, who left them years ago. Set against the colorful and rich culture of New Orleans, Louisiana Hotshot is a fast-paced, captivating mystery with absolutely delightful characters that readers are sure to want to see more of.
--Claire E. White
Louisiana Hotshot is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the June, 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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