It’s funny – Juntu Ahjee’s, The Return of Sister Harris, is a page-turner defeated only by elements dear to most readers. In many places the narrative’s pace is too slow or there is not enough to paint clear pictures, but the spare prose aside, the Seattle-based, award-winning, horror fiction writer and poet, is a keen storyteller. The dialogue grips you and rolls you into the action. Some readers might find the language too explicit or vulgar, but for a Segregation-era, crime drama it is pitch perfect. That makes the sequel to The Legend of Hattie Harris, the first of a planned three-book series, worth a chance.
Hattie Harris is an righteous avenger, but no angel. Gangsters changed the trajectory of her and her son’s lives. After a narrow escape from a brutal showdown with Chicago mobsters, the main character flees with her son back to a small house in Summit County, Ohio to bring bloody justice.
Junior there’s a lot of things in this world that you have yet begun to understand. I’m still learning myself…. I done had a hard life. Don’t mean you gotta have one son…. Sometimes your enemies will not always wear white sheets, they can come in disguises of the same shade. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing!
Readers who want a firm grip on the realities of being Black in pre-Civil Rights America will find the short novel a prize. The suspenseful action rises as the female anti-hero is hunted from Lake Michigan’s shores to rural Ohio by the Ku Klux Klan, sheriffs, federal agents, and the mob. She faces bigger perils with each chapter in a relentless bid for redemption and rebirth. That leads her to question the motives of her soul. That is why those who stand in her way must pay.
At first, readers who are sticklers for traditional narrative style will find the novel sort of flat. The author vapes the “show don’t tell” rule. Largely, the prose is heavy on summary and sounds like notes for an as yet unwritten novel or screenplay:
Five years later, Hattie (now aged 30) and Sly Jr. (now aged 9) have settled into a small two bedroom house, roughly 20 miles outside from the Cuyahoga River in Summit County… It sets on 2 (sic) and a half acres, very secluded…Hattie enjoyed farming as it brought her back to her roots. She taught her son how to raise cattle and grow produce… Hattie just wants to raise her son in peace and leave all treacherous drama in the past.
A third book, The Judgment of Sister Harris, will be released soon. That saga will also no doubt be a magnet for fans of crime, mystery or Black Culture. I can’t wait to see.
Rated Three Stars – Worth A Look
- ASIN : B086Z3KQ64
- Publication date : Feb. 1, 2021
- Language : English
- Print length : 64 pages