Morning lovelies. Today I’m on the blog tour for Pauper and Prince in Harlem by Delia C. Pitts, and am delighted to bring you an extract. Enjoy!
A vulnerable kid. A brutal enemy. An addled ally. Blood runs cold on Harlem’s hottest summer night when Drive-by assassins shoot up a crowded playground, killing the teenaged friend of private eye SJ Rook. Only fourteen, the kid was smart, affectionate, and alive with potential. His sudden death strikes the cynical Rook through the heart. Was this boy the victim of a cruel accident? Or was he targeted by gang hit men in a ruthless display of power?
To find the killers, Rook must enlist the help of another teen, Whip, a mysterious runaway witness. Whip is a transgender boy whose life on the streets has drawn him into the realm of a violent mob kingpin. Damaged by his mother’s rejection, Whip doesn’t want to be found. Not by the cops or by community do-gooders. And certainly not by Rook, a resolute stranger with vengeance on his mind. Rook’s search for the elusive kid becomes a dangerous trek through the meanest corners of his neighborhood.
Racing from desolate homeless camps to urban swamps, from settlement houses to high-rise palaces ruled by greed and corruption, the determined Rook pursues his quarry. An unexpected twist in the detective’s relationship with his crime-fighting partner, Sabrina Ross, threatens to derail his mission. Noble tramps, vicious thugs, and a pint-sized trigger woman also complicate Rook’s efforts to protect Whip. When a mob prince and a hobo hold the boy’s life in the balance will Rook’s grit and imagination be enough to save Whip and bring the killers to justice?
Available on Kindle Unlimited
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Harlem private eye SJ Rook escapes from the clutches of a mob boss. But the reprieve is temporary and foretells greater dangers ahead for him and the people he has sworn to protect.
After an hour of wandering, the SUV stopped beside a little park in Harlem. Colón fastened plastic ties around my wrists and ankles. “A minor inconvenience. I just want to make sure you don’t get out of here too fast.”
Crystal steered over the curb, across the sidewalk, and then rolled through the graveled playground, stopping near the naked skeleton of a jungle gym. Three figures hunkered at the far corner of the park, but it was otherwise empty.
“Get out.” Colón was as abrupt now as he had been expansive earlier in the evening.
I obeyed, standing beside the vehicle, leaning so my chest touched its warm door. Colón’s last words were clear. “You won’t be stuck here long. What with that sweet knife you got hidden in your boot.”
I lowered my eyes, feeling as exposed and transparent as Colón claimed to be. He swiveled his huge head to scan the playground and the dark buildings hulking at the far end of the park. “I guess you know where you are now; you can get home pretty easy from here.” The gangster returned his blazing eyes to my face, lifting his chin in farewell. “Until tomorrow night, Rook. Think about my offer. And give my regards to my old friend Norment.”
No smile, not even a nod. I hopped back, teetering to keep my balance. The window slid into place and Crystal hit the gas pedal. I shivered, though the wave of air in the huge vehicle’s wake was clammy with summer heat. As I watched it fool into the shadows, I reflected on this last unspoken message from Colón. I did know this place. This was the pocket park two blocks from Brina’s apartment. Yards from the spot where I’d seen my friend Zaire gunned down by snipers under Martin Colón’s command.
No space was sacred, no relationship off limits. The message was etched like the brute black typeface on a slip of white paper: Or your family suffers. The Colón mob’s reach was long and its grasp dreadful and accurate.
As I bent to fish the knife from my boot, I craned my neck for a glimpse of Brina’s darkened window. I braced for explanations, tough pleading, quiet anger, and perhaps a share of tears too.
The noose thrown over Whip’s head cinched tight around all of us now.”
about the author
Delia C. Pitts is the author of the Ross Agency Mysteries, a contemporary private eye series including Lost and Found in Harlem, Practice the Jealous Arts, and Black and Blue in Harlem. She is a former university administrator and U.S. diplomat, who served in West Africa and Mexico. After working as a journalist, she earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. She has published more than sixty fan fiction titles under the pen name Blacktop. Pauper and Prince in Harlem is the fourth novel in the Ross Agency Mystery series. The fifth, Murder My Past, will be released in 2021. Learn more at her website, www.deliapitts.com
GIVEAWAY (OPEN TO USA ONLY)
Giveaway to Win 5 x PB Copies of Pauper and Prince in Harlem
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tour hosted by
Rachel’s Random Resources
Thanks to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour, and to the author & publisher for sharing an extract with us.
Have a wonderful day lovelies!