The Darkest Hearts
Trap music, human trafficking, malt liquor, and the tyranny of President Trump collide in the fifth installment of Nelson George's D Hunter mystery series.
Once again, my brother Nelson George comes through in the clutch like he's batting clean-up. I've known Nelson over thirty years and he has been our cultural storyteller for that length of time. Keep telling. Keep writing our stories. I know I will keep reading them too.
--Spike Lee, filmmaker
George's passion for, and encyclopedic knowledge of, hip-hop suffuses every word of this smart, stylish novel. Although the author deftly deals with issues of predatory capitalism, government corruption, and the senseless murder of black men by America's cops, it's his handling of the tale's sex trafficking and #MeToo subplots that deserves special acclaim.
--Mystery Scene Magazine
One of CrimeReads' 10 Novels You Should Read This August
Smart...This action-packed crime novel both educates and entertains.
We're big fans of music mysteries here at CrimeReads, so I'm psyched for the new Nelson George...A complex mystery that should serve as the perfect quarantine distraction.
--CrimeReads, One of the Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2020
This dark, rollicking mystery is the fifth in George's D Hunter series...D's point of view, his self-confessed vulnerability, and his deep appreciation for music, from R&B on, make this thoroughly satisfying reading.
A showcase of different approaches to values, business, and hip-hop seen through a lens that feels personal.
Former bodyguard D Hunter has moved to Los Angeles to become a talent manager. Business is good: he has signed a hot Atlanta rapper named Lil Daye for management and negotiated a lucrative endorsement with a liquor band. However, when D learns of the liquor CEO's unsavory sexual habits and reactionary political views, he worries that he has sold his soul.
Back in Brooklyn, a body has been found in the waters near the Canarsie Pier, a body that connects D and the retired hit man Ice to incidents from back in The Plot Against Hip Hop, the second book in the series. Because of this discovery, an FBI agent wants to speak to D, which is making Ice nervous. And Ice is not a man you want worrying about you.
Meanwhile in London, Serene Powers, a vigilante and sometime collaborator with D, breaks up a human trafficking ring. In the process, she makes some new, unlikely allies. When Serene returns to the US, D asks her for assistance with a sensitive and volatile matter in Atlanta involving Lil Daye, his wife, his mistress, and a thug on his payroll named Ant.
The Darkest Hearts reflects the challenges of being a black businessperson in an era when the rules of entrepreneurship are constantly shifting beneath an increasingly polarized political environment.
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About the Author
NELSON GEORGE is an author, filmmaker, and lifelong resident of Brooklyn. His books include the first four novels in his D Hunter mystery series: The Accidental Hunter, The Plot Against Hip Hop, The Lost Treasures of R&B, and To Funk and Die in LA, all available from Akashic Books. Among his many nonfiction works are The Death of Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop America, and The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style. As a filmmaker he has directed the documentaries Brooklyn Boheme, Finding the Funk, and A Ballerina's Tale. He was also a writer/producer on the Netflix series The Get Down.
Critical praise for the D Hunter mystery series:
"George explores funk in his fine fourth novel featuring D Hunter, New York bodyguard and, by virtue of his jobs and interests, music historian."
"Ex-bodyguard D Hunter travels from Brooklyn to Los Angeles to investigate the circumstances surrounding his grandfather's murder in the fourth entry in this series by critic and journalist George...read this for its passionate and unresolved argument about the still-beating heart of R&B."
"Critic and journalist George knows the streets and his work has a gritty feel that will hold readers' attention. Name-dropping of 1970s and 1980s performers such as the Dazz Band, Shalamar, and Chaka Khan adds spice to this well-crafted mystery."
--Library Journal Xpress Reviews
"To Funk and Die in LA is a supercharged spin through the dynamic, ever-changing neighborhoods of urban LA. Nelson George's new book is full of music, secrets, heart, and more than a little heartbreak."
--Nina Revoyr, author of Southland