Journalist Jordan Manning works the crime beat in Chicago, bringing a blend of femininity, empathy, and a healthy dose of journalistic instincts, which have served her well and helped her to rise steadily through the ranks. But when teenager Masey James goes missing, Jordan starts to realize that she may have let herself get too close to this one.
This is Tamron Hall’s fiction debut, and it’s a great start. They say to write what you know, and it’s clear the author knows the world of journalism and crime like the back of her hand; the details are right, but aren’t allowed to intrude on keeping this novel entertaining for the reader. The Chicago setting is used to best advantage, and as someone completely unfamiliar with the city, I was easily still able to keep track of the action. Jordan Manning is a smart protagonist it’s easy to like – she’s ethical but able to push the hard questions when she has to.
The strongest part of the novel, though, was the sharp and honest portrayal of the issues surrounding equality when it comes to crime victims and their families. Poor victims, victims of color, anyone who can be assigned to a class that somehow strips them of their right to better treatment; they all too frequently don’t get a fair shake from the criminal justice system or the media. Tamron Hall again keeps this balanced against allowing her narrative room to flow, but it’s an issue she clearly feels strongly about; as should we all.
As the Wicked Watch is a very strong debut from an author with a voice that I’m very much looking forward to hearing more from.
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