Book Review: Silent Conspiracy
Publication Date: Mar 01, 1997
List Price: $24.95 (store prices may vary)
Format: Library Binding
Page Count: 273
Imprint: Proctor Publications
Publisher: Proctor Publications
Parent Company: Proctor Publications
Book Reviewed by Thumper
Damn, that was good! I have to stand up and applaud!
I've just finished what I consider one of the best mysteries that I've read all year. With the exception of What A Woman Gotta Do by Evelyn Coleman, this is the best mystery to come down the pike in some time, in a long time. Silent Conspiracy by Lee E. Meadows is the introduction of Lincoln Keller, the next great detective. An excellent novel, extra-ordinary mystery. Silent Conspiracy has everything that is essential for the hard boiled detective, there's the handsome PI, the stand-by girlfriend, interesting supportive cast of characters, action, murder, and good old fashion lust. It's all here and it's all good! Shoot, Bogart wish he had it so good.
Lincoln Keller is an ex pro football defensive back and ex Oakland police officer. He is back in Detroit and has set up shop with his bounty hunter brother Jefferson. He also has two other brothers, Truman and Roosevelt. I'm sure later on Mr. Meadows will be so kind as to let us in on why their mother loved these presidents enough to name her sons after them. One day, while Lincoln is at his regular haunt minding his own business, in walks the lady with a body that won't quit and he doesn't want it too (of course there has to be the beautiful lady with a problem). The lady's name is Erotica (is this a name or what?) and she has a job for Lincoln. Lincoln, in nano-second speed, has fallen heavily into lust. Erotica wants Lincoln to find an old singing group name the Sentiments that disappeared in 1955 without a trace. Of course the case is not that simple. With twists and turns, betrayal and murder, Lincoln's journey is not an easy one. It is fast paced and fascinating. Thus, the beginning of a wonderful novel and hopeful a fantastic mystery series.
Meadows is a creative author. He took an old, well used format and blew new life into it and colored it black. Even though you can see shadows of the old detective novel and films from the 30's and 40's in this book, Meadows updated it and took it to another level. Let me break it down for you, this is Aretha Franklin singing Ain't Nothin' Like The Real Thing. Sure, you like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's version but when Aretha got a hold of it, she turned the song inside out (especially the bridge!!). She brought another level of soulfulness to it. Even though its the same song, there's bumps and wrinkles that weren't there before! Well, this is what Meadows has done...and he brought the history and mannerism that is unique to the African-American population and he expanded it in some places and shaded it in others. Meadows paints a picture of 1955 Detroit. He brings back the age of when the black community sustained itself with thriving businesses and what was necessary to keep those businesses. Yet, at the same time the book is present day. Meadows doesn't shy away from the reality of the streets, but he finds humor, trust, loyalty and compassion in what many has label a wasteland.
As for our hero, Lincoln is intelligent, caring, cynical, and has a very smart mouth. He also knows how to take a lick and how to give one. Thoroughly human and grounded in his raising and his family. Meadows laid the foundation of Lincoln's character beautifully, thus laying the groundwork for the serial to come.
What more can I say, I'm crazy about this book. I'm crazy about Lincoln. I'm crazy about his brother Jefferson, Julie across the hall, Lincoln's maybe girlfriend Detective Malone, even the crime boss Nightlife. A wonderful supporting cast of characters.
And as if this wasn't enough, he provided a soundtrack. The music in the book is nice, very nice. Marvin Gaye, Minnie Ripperton, my girl Phyllis Hyman, he included some good ones. I was at work when I finished this book and didn't have access to my CD collection, otherwise, I would have been popping CDs in the stereo while I was reading. I had Aretha and Randy Crawford instead, still good.
I must confess, I pride myself on my ability to guess who did what and when. I'm not easily fooled, but Meadows blew me away. The conclusion is multi-layered. Talk about tying up loose ends, Meadows knitted a sweater.
Silent Conspiracy is what I hope is the start of something big. An excellent novel telling an excellent mystery in a fresh wonderful voice. Highly recommended! I would add this one to the library because it's a keeper. You won't be disappointed.
Mr. Meadows: Very nice job, sir. You're the latest addition to the Thumper's list. It's authors like you that makes me want to turn into Annie Wilkes from Misery, break your ankles and chain you to a typewriter. Since that's not going to happen, I have one question for you, where is it? Where's the new book?