Dead Dead Girls

Berkley Prime Crime. (Harlem Renaissance Mystery, Bk. 1). Jun. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780593199107. pap. $16. M
DEBUT Louise Lovie Lloyd has spent the past 10 years escaping her memories by dancing and drinking her way through life in the various theaters and speakeasies of 1920s Harlem. Kidnapped at 16, then lauded in the newspapers as a hero for escaping and rescuing three other Black girls, Louise finds her daily routines abruptly halted when she discovers the body of a young Black nightclub dancer outside the café where she works. Later, while attempting to drink that sight away, an encounter with the police lands Louise in jail. Detective Gilbert offers to drop the charges if Louise will go unofficially undercover to help the police solve a string of nightclub murders. With her lover Rosa Maria Moreno and Rosa Maria’s brother Rafael, Louise hits the nightclubs, determined to stop a serial killer.
VERDICT Debut author Afia’s historical series launch, while a little uneven in the writing and light on the suspense, is a character-driven mystery that will appeal to readers who enjoy Roaring Twenties mysteries such as Susanna Calkins’s “Speakeasy Murders” series.
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