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334 pages, Paperback
First published December 27, 2016
Until the 80% mark, this book was a solid 4/4.5 stars. Good plot, good characters, great pacing with a highly engaging prose. So why one star? We'll come back to that.
It starts off with a plane crash, one in which Will Griffith had been a passenger. Will, you see, never should have been on that flight.
In the aftermath of this tragedy, the grieving widow is confronted with a situation that indicates the marriage was based on mistruths. Will was far from who he said he was. I mean, the oh-shit-oh-no-he-didn't kind. Everything he'd ever told Iris about his past (or present) were lies.
Iris- with help from her twin brother- sets out to get answers only to discover a sinister plan, one that could potentially make her an accessory to embezzlement, perhaps even lead to her demise.
During this period, Iris has a great support system. The aforementioned brother, her parents, Evan the lawyer (who lost his wife and daughter in the crash). Then there was Corban, Will's gym buddy/friend who, surprisingly, had never met Iris. Corban is a tall, cover-of-a-magazine-handsome Black man.
Turns out Corban was also the villain. A Black man as the psychotic, delusional, narcissistic criminal? The lone black male in an array of non-POC characters. The only black male character, not penned by an African-American writer, that I've ever seen in a mainstream book (Alex Cross aside).
The message was cleverly constructed but it was one I easily deciphered. That Corban had his head blown to bits (while holding Iris hostage) was yet another message. Subliminal, yet it re-calibrates perception of the black man.
Do you want to know why I gave this one star?
I have 3 Black sons who, prior to moving to the US for college, had the biggest afros. Afros which they wore with pride while attending schools in England and France. Well mannered, articulate and kind boys.
The minute they stepped on US soil, my sister plowed the afros to within an inch of their scalps. Out went any clothing with a hood. Should they leave school after 6 pm, they are not allowed to use any cab service except those we had pre-approved and even then, only with selected drivers.
As Tall as they are, they know to avoid any behavior that could be misconstrued as menacing or threatening. Their hands must be visible while in public and the 3 must NEVER move as a group. No group trips to the mall, Burger King or whatnot. NEVER.
Am I paranoid? Certainly.
Initially, when we were introduced to Corban, I was beyond excited. Finally, a beautiful Black man as supporting cast, I said. I hope K. Belle doesn't make him the antagonist, I said.
I spoke too soon.
How terribly cliche, Ms Belle and what a shame that is.