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In Valerie Wilson Wesley’s 1994 novel, investigator Tamara Hayle’s personal and professional lives collide. Tamara’s ex-husband is grieving the loss of his two sons from previous relationships, both of whom died tragically young and under mysterious circumstances—and he’s hiring her to uncover what really happened to them. For Tamara, the cases have extra urgency: She’s fearful that Jamal, her own son with DeWayne, might be next. The first of eight books in Wilson Wesley’s Tamara Hayle series, the novel addresses the all-too-real issues of police violence and racial discrimination. But Wilson Wesley, a former executive editor of Essence Magazine, adeptly balances the heavy subject matter with moments of levity and wit, as well as a measured sense of suspense that keeps readers rapt until the book’s gripping conclusion. —Cady Lang

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