Boston Public Library
Black Is... 1999: Fiction
Booklists for Adults

BEBE’S BY GOLLY WOW
by Yolanda Joe. Bebe finds love again when she meets Isaac, a firefighter who’s raising his 13-year-old headstrong daughter. A sequel to He Say She Say.

BLACK AJAX
by George Macdonald Fraser. Based on the life of Tom Molineaux, a slave who boxed his way to freedom in the early 1800s.

BLESSINGS
by Sheneska Jackson.   A blessing to one is not necessarily good fortune to another, as four friends find out when they are torn apart by the fantasies and realities of motherhood.

BLUE COLLAR BLUES
by Rosalyn McMillan. A Detroit auto plant is the setting; murder and passion drive the plot.

BLUE LIGHT: Prelude to the Invasion of Light Trilogy
by Walter Mosley. A futuristic novel by the author of the Easy Rawlins mystery series.

BY THE LIGHT OF MY FATHER’S SMILE
by Alice Walker. The first new novel in six years by the author of The Color Purple.

CAUCASIA
by Danzy Senna. Separated since their parents’ divorce, fair-skinned Birdie searches for her dark-skinned sister in 1970s Boston.

CEREUS BLOOMS AT NIGHT
by Shani Mootoo. Cereus is a murder suspect in the Paradise Arms House, where her unlikely confidant is a vivacious male nurse.

*CHEEKIE: A Child out of the Desire
by Clarence Nero. For Cheekie, who was conceived and born out of wedlock, the New Orleans housing project where she lives, "The Desire," does not live up to its name.

CHILDHOOD
by Andre Alexis. Middle-aged and living in Canada, Thomas looks back on his childhood and what he learned &endash; about the games of power and romance played between his mother and the man who may or may not have been his father.

A DO RIGHT MAN
by Omar Tyree. Bobby Dallas is finally ready to make a commitment and that should be easy . . . right?

DON’T ERASE ME: Stories
by Carolyn Ferrell. Often invisible, poor minority teens are determined to survive despite adversity.

DREAMER
by Charles Johnson. What if Martin Luther King, Jr. had a double?

EASTER LILLY: A Novel of the South
by Tom Wicker. Can a young black woman on trial for the murder of a white jail guard receive a fair trial?

THE EDGE OF HEAVEN
by Marita Golden. A middle-class family copes with the death of a child and the imprisonment of the mother.

FARADAY’S POPCORN FACTORY
by Sandra Lee Gould. Is Willow’s new love truly an alien as her grandmother suspects?

THE FARMING OF BONES
by Edwidge Danticat. Amabelle and Sebastien, Haitians living in the Dominican Republic, are planning their future; then Trujillo begins the slaughter. Based on a true incident.

FEVER SEASON
by Barbara Hambly. It is New Orleans, and freedmen are disappearing after a white couple is poisoned. The sequel to A Free Man of Color.

FLICKERING SHADOWS
by Kwadwo Agymah Kamau.  Even with one of their own as prime minister, the people of a Caribbean island find that self determination does not bring freedom from political and religious corruption.

FREEDOMLAND
by Richard Price. A black detective is skeptical of a woman who claims that her son was kidnapped during a carjacking.

GOOD FENCES
by Erika Ellis. Being black and living in a white world carries a high price as the Spader family discovers.

THE HEALING
by Gayl Jones. Harlan Jane Eagleton, a faith healer, travels from town to town working her miracles, knowing she also has to heal herself.

I CAN’T WAIT ON GOD
by Albert French. She murders her pimp, steals his Buick, and with her boyfriend heads for New York City.

IRON SHADOWS
by Steven Barnes. Is the New Age cult, which private investigator Cat Spaulding and her partner Jax are investigating, really controlled by aliens?

THE ITCH
by Benilde Little.   It’s what they get when wealthy 30-somethings get everything they say they wanted.

KIRINYAGA: A Fable of Utopia
by Michael Resnick. Koriba is determined to build a "Utopian" colony, not on earth but on the terraformed planetoid.

LADY MOSES
by Lucinda Roy.  A biracial British woman travels first to America and then to Africa in search of happiness and security.

THE LAST OF THE AFRICAN KINGS
by Maryse Conde. From African royalty to the Caribbean to present-day United States. A family saga.

LENOIR: A Novel
by Ken Greenhall. The subject of Rubens’s 17th-century painting, "Four Heads of a Negro," is brought to life.

*A LIFE FOR A LIFE
by Ernest Hill. Fifteen-year-old D’Ray Reid robs a convenience store when a drug dealer threatens to kill his younger brother if he doesn’t come up with $100.

LOVE IS A RACKET
by John Ridley. Everything’s a racket for Jeffty Kittridge, a thirty-seven-year-old ex-wannabe scriptwriter living on the skids in Hollywood.

MEN OF BREWSTER PLACE
by Gloria Naylor. A revisit to the fictional inner city neighborhood where there is "an endless supply of I could, I shoulda, but I didn’t."     Told this time from the perspective of its sons and husbands.

THE MONKEY SUIT and Other Short Fiction on African Americans and Justice
by David Dante Troutt. Ten classic fictionalized legal cases involving African-Americans.

*MR. DREAM MERCHANT
by Erroll J. Bailey. The spiritual entity, Jr. Dream Merchant, guides a teenager through difficult times.

NOTHING BUT THE RENT
by Sharon Mitchell. An unexpected crisis convinces four women that they have been looking for love in all the wrong places.

ONE MUST WAIT
by Penny Mickelbury. A disillusioned criminal defense lawyer decides to investigate her husband’s murder.

THE PAGODA
by Patricia Powell.  A Chinese man who fled to Jamaica in the 1890s writes to his estranged daughter to explain his life as it nears its end.

PARADISE
by Toni Morrison.  When the outside world intrudes, the community of Ruby, once a paradise, is forced into a tragic confrontation.

*PLENTY GOOD ROOM
by Teresa McClain-Watson. Traumatized by witnessing his brother’s murder, 13-year-old Bay Dawson is sent from Harlem to Florida.

PRIDE
by Lorene Cary. Can a life-long friendship between four women survive after the revelation of a long-kept secret?

RING AROUND THE MOON
by Mary Burnett Smith. Looking back to the year she was ten, a woman recalls the effects of her family’s move to a new town and her father’s infidelity.

THE RIVER WHERE BLOOD IS BORN
by Sandra Jackson-Opoku. One family’s journey over three centuries from ancient Africa to contemporary America.

SECRETS
by Nuruddin Farah. During the Civil War in Somalia, Kalaman’s childhood sweetheart returns, asking him to father her child, which opens the floodgates to long-kept family skeletons.

SINGING IN THE COMEBACK CHOIR
by Bebe Moore Campbell. Should Maxine give up her career as a Los Angeles TV producer for her grandmother and the crumbling Philadelphia neighborhood where she grew up?

SINGLE MOM
by Omar Tyree. Denise Stewart finds herself involved with both of her sons’ fathers, as well as in a relationship with a new man.

SOLIBO MAGNIFICENT
by Patrick Chamoiseau.  A legendary storyteller in Martinique is discovered dead of unknown causes. Did one of his friends murder him, or was he choked by his own words?

STIGMATA
by Phyllis Alesia Perry. Through out-of-body experiences, Lizzie relives her great-grand-mother’s experiences as a slave.

THE STORE OF A MILLION ITEMS: Stories
by Michelle Cliff, the Jamaican author.

TAMING IT DOWN
by Kim McLarin. Hope is a woman with every reason to be mad. Her editor thinks she got her job merely because she’s black, her white lover dumps her for a blonde, and her African-American boyfriend considers her a traitor to the race.

TEMPEST RISING
by Diane McKinney-Whetstone. The escape of three sisters from their nightmarish foster home forces their caregivers to move beyond the abuse that had characterized their relationships.

TWO CITIES
by John Edgar Wideman. A woman who has lost her husband to AIDS and her two sons to the streets must find a way to heal herself.

UP JUMPED THE DEVIL
by Blair S. Walker. Neo-Nazis threaten to bomb the NAACP’s national headquarters.

VOODOO CHILD
by Michael Reaves. "Murder and dark magic prowl the New Orleans streets."

THE WAKE OF THE WIND
by J. California Cooper. The cataclysmic effects of post Reconstruction Era lynchings and injustice to a family of freedmen.

WALKING THROUGH MIRRORS
by Brian Keith Jackson. Returning to Louisiana for his father’s funeral, a successful New York photographer searches for the reason for his abandonment as an infant.

WHAT LOOKS LIKE CRAZY ON AN ORDINARY DAY
by Pearl Cleage. Ava finds that HIV is not a death sentence but a new beginning, thanks to her sister, her new man, and a group of troubled teenagers.

WHISTLE: A Novel
by Janice Daugharty. A black man discovers a white woman’s body and is blackmailed by his mother.

WHITE BOYS: Short Stories
by Reginald McKnight. Racism is part of daily life in these stories that explore the complexities of crossing the racial divide.

ZACHARY’S WINGS
by Rosemarie Robotham. What begins as a passionate affair for Zachary and Korie becomes increasingly troubled when secrets are revealed.

MYSTERIES

THE BEST DEFENSE
by Ellis Cose. A lawyer takes a case defending a white client accused of killing his Latino office colleague.

BLANCHE CLEANS UP
by Barbara Neely. The third book in Neely’s series features Roxbury’s Blanche White discovering a cover-up in the murder of a black youth.

CAT-EYED TROUBLE
by Robert Skinner. Wesley Farrell passes for white and owns a nightclub in New Orleans during the Depression.

A DARKER SHADE OF CRIMSON: An Ivy League Mystery
by Pamela Thomas-Graham.  A Harvard professor turns sleuth when she stumbles upon a dead body during a blackout.

EASIER TO KILL
NO HIDING PLACE
by Valerie Wilson Wesley.  Two new entries in the Tamara Hayle mystery series.

EYE OF THE CRICKET: A Lew Griffin Novel
by James Sallis. The fourth book in the Lew Griffin series finds the detective searching for his missing son.

KILLING THE LAWYERS: A Joe Sixsmith Mystery
by Reginald Hill. His meeting with a lawyer ends in a shouting match; when the lawyer is murdered, Joe becomes a suspect.

SEE NO EVIL: A Marti MacAlister Mystery
by Eleanor Taylor Bland. Detective Marti MacAlister investigates the death of a female drug addict, while a stalker plans to kill her, her family, and her housemates.

SHADES OF JUSTICE
by Linda McKeever Bullard. An aspiring judge is being blackmailed by her best friend’s husband with whom she had an affair.

THE SILENT CRADLE
by Margaret Cuthbert. An obstetrician fears that many patients being referred to her have fetuses that have been deliberately harmed.

WHAT A WOMAN’S GOTTA DO: A Novel of Suspense
by Evelyn Coleman. After her fiancÈ fails to show up at their wedding and her car is found covered with blood, Patricia is suspected of murder.

WHEN LAST SEEN ALIVE: An Aaron Gunner Mystery
by Gar Anthony Haywood. What happened to Elroy Covington who never returned from the Million Man March?

*Recommended for Teens

This selected list was compiled by:  Kendall Brothers, General Library, Teen Services; Moonyean Carlton, General Library, Adult Reader and Information Services; Marylou Coveney, Dudley Branch; Janice Knight, Mattapan Branch; Amy Manson, Jamaica Plain Branch; Sarah Markell, Charlestown Branch;   Jacquelyn Hogan, Chairperson, Grove Hall Branch Libraries.  Boston Public Library, 1999.