Book Review: Dead, Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia (A Harlem Renaissance Mystery, 1)

Dead, Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia is a compelling mystery-thriller novel that follows the story of an ambitious, determined, and resilient young woman named Louise Lloyd. The story is set in Harlem in the 1920s, and it centers around a series of murders that have been taking place, with the victims being young Black women. Louise is a journalist who has always been fascinated by the stories of the victims, and she becomes even more invested in the case when her friend, who is also a Black woman, goes missing.

The main character, Louise Lloyd, is a complex and compelling protagonist. She is driven by a desire to succeed in her career as a journalist, but she is also haunted by her past and the traumas that she has endured. As she delves deeper into the case, she finds herself drawn into a dangerous world of corruption and violence, and she must navigate this world while also dealing with her own personal demons.

One of the things that I appreciated about the book is the way that it deals with issues of race and gender. The story is set in the 1920s, a time when Black women faced significant discrimination and violence, and the book does an excellent job of capturing the mood and atmosphere of the time. The book also explores the ways in which gender and power intersect, particularly in the male-dominated world of journalism and law enforcement.

The mystery at the heart of the story is also well-crafted and engaging. The murders are gruesome and shocking, and the tension builds throughout the book as Louise and the other characters race to uncover the truth before it’s too late. The book keeps you guessing until the very end, and the resolution is both satisfying and surprising.

I would highly recommend Dead, Dead Girls to anyone who enjoys a well-crafted mystery-thriller with complex characters and a strong sense of time and place. The book is a powerful exploration of race, gender, and power, and it is a testament to the resilience and strength of Black women in the face of adversity. Nekesa Afia is a talented writer, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future. You can get a copy of this Golden Age style mystery here.


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