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Johnny Shaw. The Southland (Agora, $16.95 unsigned paperback)
THE SOUTHLAND tells the story of three unauthorized Mexican immigrants living in Los Angeles: Luz works multiple jobs to provide for herself and her teenage son Eliseo. Nadia, a former journalist with PTSD, fled Mexico and tries to stay hidden from the dangerous men that she exposed in Sinaloa. Ostelinda works as a laborer in a garment factory, having been deceived by coyotes and imprisoned in the same building since her arrival.
Their lives intersect through terrifying circumstance that clarify and contrast the horrors of existence. When Eliseo goes missing, Luz is lost. She doesn’t trust the authorities to help. One wrong move could get her deported. Luz has no option but to investigate her son’s disappearance on her own. Engaging Nadia and her roommate, they navigate an increasingly hostile American environment in an effort to reunite Luz’s small family.
When Luz and Nadia uncover a link to the people that run the garment factory, the two women become determined to save more than just Luz’s son.
THE SOUTHLAND is a crime story, but more than that, it’s a story of America and the dangers that migrants face when being forced to live in the shadows.
Gary Phillips. Matthew Henson and the Ice Temple of Harlem (Agora, $16.00 Signed).
MATTHEW HENSON AND THE ICE TEMPLE OF HARLEM is the first in a new exciting retro rollicking adventure series. This re-imagined pulp novel follows the Doc Savage-style adventures of the first black man to reach the North Pole —Matthew Henson.
The tail end of the Roaring 20s. Harlem.
Hired by controversial spiritual leader Daddy Paradise to retrieve his adult daughter who has been kidnapped, adventurer Matthew Henson does just that. Then he must safeguard the two until the firebrandcan deliver a momentous speech at a mass rally. Henson must employ all his survival skills to fulfill his task—skills that kept him whole in forbidden jungles, across Asia, and in sub-zero ice storms when he first reached the North Pole.
Henson’s charge brings him face-to-face with such illustrious characters as gangster Dutch Schultz, who's looking to muscle out numbers racket boss Queenie St. Clair, and famed inventor Nikola Tesla who is using his electrical acumen to surveil plutocrats. Henson’s pal Bessie Coleman, America’s first black aviatrix lends a hand as well. With a death ray zeroing in on him, he races against the clock to save lives, and keep a mysterious and powerful meteor fragment he brought back from the Arctic years ago out of the hands of monied evil-doers.
Set against the intellectual, artistic and political firmament that was the Harlem Renaissance, THE ICE TEMPLE OF HARLEM re-imagines explorer Matthew Henson in the style of Doc Savage and Indiana Jones. The one the Inuit adopted as their own and considered the best example of those from the distant South.