Reviewed By: Harriet Klausner
A Dangerous Road
Amazon US PB Amazon US HC Amazon Canada PB Amazon Canada HC
Class/Genre: Mystery Historical Ethnic
St. Martin's Minotaur, July 2000, $24.95, 336 pp.
In 1968, Memphis is a divided city with racial tension extremely high between the white population led by Mayor Loeb and the black population represented by the sanitation workers. As the workers begin their strike, white woman Laura Hathaway visits odd job specialist Billy "Smokey" Dalton in his office. She demands that he explain why her mother left him ten thousand dollars in her will. Smokey realizes that her private sleuth failed to find the link and she is fishing, but he does not know why. He fails to recognize his benefactor from her picture that Laura shows him.
After an unsatisfied Laura leaves, Smokey thinks back because this is not the first "gift" the Hathaways have given to him. He is as curious as she is, except his desire to know why goes back to 1960 when he received ten thousand dollars from a lawyer who claimed silence at the direction of his client. Laura appearing in his office has given him his first substantial lead in a quest to learn why he twice was given a substantial amount of cash. Smokey begins his own investigation.
A DANGEROUS ROAD is a fabulous historical mystery that brings to life the essence of Memphis during the period that leads to and includes the assassination of Martin Luther King. The story line is very appealing, as Smokey searches for the link with the help of a ten-year old street-wise kid. Except for the fact that this novel will make baby boomers feel old when the realization of how much time has passed, Kris Nelscott provides a winning tale that hopefully leads to more late sixties and seventies novels.
Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Harriet Klausner