Wednesday, September 19, 2012

#BookReview: South by Southeast - Blair Underwood, Tananarive Due & Steven Barnes

I'm always surprised when my Twitter followers are shocked to find out that Blair Underwood writes.  Okay, really, the man is like a fine wine that just gets better with time, but he's more than just a handsome face.  In addition to being an actor with a long career that I've been drooling over since his LA Law days, he's the co-author of the Tennyson Hardwick series.  Yes, series.  South by Southeast is the fourth in a series that started with Casanegra, In the Night of the Heat and From Cape Town with Love.

To bring those of you who haven't read the previous books up to speed, here's a quick recap.  Ten is a gigolo turned actor with a side order of private investigator.  His wheelchair bound, retired police captain father and his nurse turned girlfriend, Marcela, live with him in a house he inherited from a former client.  When he's not rescuing kidnapped babies or pining over his ex-girlfriend, but still a good friend, April, he's guardian to Chela, a fiesty 17 year old that he rescued from his former madam.

Life is finally on track for Ten.  He's been handpicked by the famous director Gustavo Escobar for a part in his next zombie flick.  Temporarily relocating the family from Los Angeles to Miami is just what the doctor ordered.  Marcela will get to see her family, the captain will get to relax and Chela will have a chance to shed her LA baggage in a city where no one knows about her past as a prostitute.  But trouble has a way of finding the Hardwick clan and it's not long before Ten is thrown back into the role of protector and private investigator.

I don't know how the three authors work out writing amongst themselves.  Perhaps one of them writes the outline, someone else does character development and the third fleshes out the meat of the project.  What I do know is they seem to work seamlessly together.  Even though the only character that we have an actual image of is Tennyson, it's not difficult to imagine what the others look like based on the descriptions we're given.  Because of that, it's easier to visualize each scene as it plays out.  It's like the books are written as a screenplay, but without the stilted directions and scene set ups that you'd see in an actual screenplay.  It was reported back in August of this year that Blair Underwood signed a major development/talent holding deal with Universal Television.  Let's all keep our fingers crossed in hopes that we see Ten, Captain Hardwick, Marcela and Chela gracing our television screens in the near future.

Published: September 2012
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.

Theme: Quimbara by Celia Cruz

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