MUSINGS OF A STORY MERCHANT

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gather Together In My Name by Tracy Price-Thompson


Okay, the wait is over! GATHER TOGETHER IN MY NAME is yet another one just like the other one(s). Rare would you find a Tracy Price-Thompson written novel devoid of dramatic poignancy and verve. Based on her previous work relative to my reviews and others that pay homage to good writing, I’ve come to know this author well in this regard. Each book has its own juices that marinate with the spices that hit the literary palette. If you thought BLACK COFFEE, CHOCOLATE SANGRIA, and A WOMAN’S WORTH were stellar, wait until you witness the trial and tribulation of Shyne Blackwood. Shyne’s incredible story is told against the backdrop of a triumvirate that gives the story different shades of coloring where the author exudes every ounce of intrigue to keep you guessing as each scene is dependent on what’s destined to happen next. Loyalty, love and a sordid sense of loathing drives this story.

The setting is a crime-ridden Brooklyn that adds a synonymous layer that the author takes advantage of by blending of a set of triplets born into poverty and great consternation. The boys - Gabriel (Shug), Isaiah (Shyne) and Ezekiel (Shadow) are introduced in alternating chapters as the author weaves a fabric rough at times, but with enough traction that it moves along gathering tone and tenor for a climatic, if not surprising end. Is love and loyalty worth dying for where hate is circling in the midst waiting to claim another victim? The author sets the tone when a gristly rape and murder is committed on a young woman and her three year-old daughter. Who dunnit? Two of the three brothers are interwoven into this tale as Shadow meets an early untimely death of his own. Was it Shug, a momma’s boy and his mother's favorite, who is an intellect, law-trained and a politically savvy individual bidding to become the second black mayor of New York City; or the snake-bitten Shyne, who is a street-seasoned hustler, thief and seemingly someone only the next door neighbor can love that committed the crime?

I read this story with much trepidation recalling the plight of so many Black men sentenced to lives that are stereotypical of some of them being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As you read this story you will want the author to give it practical familiarity by allowing readers to come to the conclusion that may be obvious, but certain twists keeps the suspense riveting! As such, one of the brothers are accused and convicted of the brutal murders, and everyone demands vengeance as death row becomes his next place of residence. The coda gains momentum on the eve of Shyne's execution, when five people travel to the jail to witness the event. Redemption can be defined only when intrusive meaning is worthy of holding on to an unshakeable feeling. In tick-tock fashion the culprit is good as gone, but the adhesiveness of loyalty rears its head to reveal a secret that will test the bonds of familial order, the strength of one man's character, and the all encompassing power of a love worth dying for mentioned earlier. If you manage to gather together for the sake of a good read, then do so by naming and claiming this author as one of the best in guaranteed page-turning delight! Tracy, when is the next one due out?

Reviewed by Alvin C. Romer for The Romer Review

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