I had to do the perp walk through a gauntlet of paparazzi at the 28th Precinct and I must say I finally understood the impulse to put a coat over your head. It didn’t take long for someone to recognize me. “Lt. Knight! Over here!”
Lt. Summer Knight is the badass I play in my action movies. But now I’m native daughter, at home in Harlem, reluctantly running the Harlem Journal, the weekly newspaper my Daddy left me when he died three weeks ago.
That’s Pearl Washington, the hero of Harlem Hit & Run, a murder mystery set during one week in November 1990 between two editions of the Journal. The news as all about a community bank. Harlem is a complex character in the story. So is Pearl.
She is studying the Buddha’s teaching as part of her martial arts training and finds herself in a Buddhist moment when, for instance, she has to decide whether or not to arm herself. And she chants over Cecelia Miller when her friend is hit and killed by a car on 125th Street: “Remember all this fleeting world is a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, a flash of lightening in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.”
Her lover, a Harlem cop, hears her and asks her to lead his 28th Precinct police people in a meditation. She does.