A woman lets herself go and finally does something wrong. Down on his luck, a man tries to do something right. For both, the consequences are as surprising as they are rewarding in two tales of lost souls by two rising stars in contemporary African-American fiction.
"Nightmare in Paradise" by Mary Monroe
Good-looking and as dutiful a wife as she is a devoted friend, reserved and respectful Renee Webb always does the right thing. So when she gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to let her hair down on a Caribbean vacation with her uninhibited friend Inez, Renee is more than ready to let go. But the sun-splashed isle of Paraiso is not what it seems, and Renee finds out that doing the wrong thing--a sizzling night of pleasure with a sexy stranger--might cost her more than she ever imagined. . .
"Bad Luck Shadow" by Victor McGlothin
Bad luck's been shadowing handsome Baltimore Floyd ever since he hopped a train out of New York City. On the run from some of Harlem's baddest hitmen, Baltimore's luck takes a turn for the worse after he murders a big-time white businessman and gets thrown off the train in Kansas City. Alone and on the lam, Baltimore's got only one shot to get out alive--the biggest heist in KC's history. Lucky for him, Henry Taylor's got his back, and he'll have to use every trick he knows to save Baltimore from going down for good. . .
Monroe (God Don't Like Ugly) and McGlothin (Down on My Knees) each contribute a short novel to this curiously packaged product. Monroe's Nightmare in Paradise features 31-year-old Renee, a second grade teacher and self-proclaimed "Miss Goody Two-Shoes" who, with wild best friend Inez, goes to the Caribbean to "get loose." Frustration with her own meek nature and an admission by Inez she slept with Renee's husband before they married propel Renee into a one-night stand that results in her arrest for prostitution. When husband Leon won't pony up the fine, Renee is jailed for three months plenty of time to decide who stays in her life. Monroe's earnest melodrama suffers, however, from its proximity to McGlothin's dazzling Bad Luck Shadow. Set in 1946, the story's hero is Baltimore Floyd, a dashing scoundrel with charisma to burn. Fleeing Harlem and a gambling debt, Baltimore steals into a neon-lit Kansas City, where he holes up in old love Franchetta's cathouse and plans the takedown of a high-stakes card game. McGlothin's tale is sophisticated and sexy, with the plotting and pacing of first-rate noir. If cross-promotion is the impetus for this project, Monroe may earn a few new readers, but McGlothin's fan base is sure to swell.