Double Dead
by Gary Hardwick

Dutton: 1997
$23.95, 368 pp.

Review by Harriet Klausner

The nation, but especially residents of Detroit are shocked over the murder of Mayor Harris Yancey by two knife wielding thugs. Yancey's mistress Ramona Lake, who was dining with the victim when the attack occurred, manages to escape, leaving her in the position of becoming the chief suspect. Prosecutor Jesse King questions Ramona who tells him about the murder, her escape, and the briefcase that the killers took from the mayor's office. To his own amazement, Jesse believes her story.

Jesse and Ramona begin their own joint investigation. However, it is not just digging into life in the ghetto that is dangerous for the pair of amateur sleuths. There is a large line up of the elite planning to become the Motown's next mayor and nothing will stand in any of their ways. If Jesse and Mona somehow survive the professional killers, the political and press hatchet folks, and the hood, they still have to find evidence to prove her (and now his) innocence.

Double Dead is a superb inner city political-legal thriller that fans of the sub-genre will deeply enjoy.. The lead protagonists are a wonderful couple, whose lifestyles are radically different yet identical. However, what makes Gary Hardwick's novel a notch above the typical fare is his portrayal of the social classes in Detroit where the difference between the ghetto dweller and the penthouse owner is tauntingly nothing but green power. This is one tale that is not only entertaining but also delivers a brilliantly sardonic social commentary on the true differences in the social classes.

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