(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Woods first self-published this urban fiction classic in 2003. Billed as "special collector's edition," the reprint is well worth a revisit. When the novel opens, a zealous district attorney is trying to convict Bernard James, aka "Dutch," for a series of brutal murders. Flashbacks reveal Dutch's ruthless rise through the ranks of New Jersey organized crime, but his sense of nobility blurs lines between good and evil. Helping Dutch intimidate minor hoods is right-hand man Craze. Woods's writing is often pitch-perfect, as when she describes Dutch's poverty-stricken mother, Delores, having sex in a "three-legged bed," under which Delores had put a paint can to hold up the frame. Now that's a street lit woman. Verdict Woods uses a testimonial technique similar to that in Citizen Kane in which folks who've had contact with Dutch give their opinions about the gangster in flashbacks. The style works as readers become thoroughly engaged with Dutch's journey to power and his ultimate downfall. If your library's 2003 copies are missing, order more. This is a sure hit with fans of Woods and urban fiction. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.