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Casanegra Hardcover – June 19, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Tennyson Hardwick Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Actor Underwood (Sex and the City, etc.) teams up with accomplished authors Due and Barnes to produce a seamlessly entertaining novel. Tennyson Hardwick—semisuccessful actor, ex-gigolo and incipient sleuth—has the mixed fortune to reconnect with rap superstar Afrodite, a former client, for a night of more than just sex. The next day, she's found dead in a plastic bag with a split skull, and he's a suspect. To clear his name, Hardwick draws on all of his considerable assets: good looks and charm, a $2.5 million house inherited from a devoted client, martial arts skills (Barnes's stock in trade) and connections on both sides of the law. The authors have mixed up a cocktail of exotic elements—the sex for pay industry, the grind and glitz of Hollywood and the rap biz, a smart leavening of black film history—and topped it with a double shot of brutal murder. Handsome Ten Hardwick has not only a great backstory but a very promising future.
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Review

"Casanegra is a wild ride through Hollywood, heart-pounding in every way. Smooth, ultra-sexy Tennyson Hardwick is a man readers will want to meet up close. He is all heart and danger, a knight in battered armor. You will love this novel!"

-- E. Lynn Harris New York Times bestselling author of I Say a Little Prayer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1st edition (June 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743287312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743287319
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #777,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Modern erotica at its best. The thing is, folks, this story rocks--hard. No pun intended. Tennyson Hardwick (is that the perfect name, or what!) is an ex-gigolo and struggling actor based in L.A. who chances upon a former client, the female superstar rapper Afrodite, and after some playful exchanges they wind up in bed. In fact, she's gung-ho on helping Ten get his acting career on track. Sounds like a lucky break, huh? Nope. This wouldn't be riveting fiction if our hero got his happily-ever-after so close to page 1. Afrodite is brutally murdered and Ten finds himself the unwitting #1 suspect. So, we're off to a rip-roaring start. From there, he hooks up with a feisty investigative reporter, April, and the duo team up to crack the case, and hopefully clear Ten's name. On top of that, they even carve out time to engage in some wild impromptu sex acts most probably haven't even heard of yet (you'll reread many MANY paragraphs more than once, trust me). I won't spoil all the many twists and turns of Ten's bumpy journey by giving them away here. But the bottom line is: Throw in Ten's decorated ex-cop dad, the sometimes treacherous world of gansta rap, a colorful array of supporting folks, and some of the spiciest sex scenes this side of a brothel, and what you have is an exquisite page-turning romp.

I've enthusiastically followed Tananarive Due since a friend recommended her brilliant MY SOUL TO KEEP (I'm a sci-fi/horror buff). And have enjoyed Blair Underwood's work ever since his L.A. LAW days. The masterful Steven Barnes' most recent novel, GREAT SKY WOMAN, is breathtaking. With the combined forces of all three, you can only expect explosive results!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Casanegra is Blair Underwood's latest novel that focuses on the adventures of a suave, male escort-turned- actor, Tennyson (Ten) Hardwick - yes, that is his name -- fitting for a former Los Angeles gigolo, huh? Ten, motherless at an early age, is also a former police academy drop-out who had a run in with the law during his escorting tenure. He views himself as a disappointment and embarrassment to his highly revered and retired police lieutenant father which not surprisingly fosters a strained relationship between the two.

Ten bumps into an old client, rapper-turned- actress, Afrodite and the two spend an afternoon of steamy sex together at her home where she kindly offers him bona fide acting work via her production company, Casanegra. When she turns up dead the next day, Ten finds himself as a suspect in the murder investigation. He reasons the best way to keep the LAPD from suspecting him is to find the real murderer and thus begins an escapade into rapper's rivalry, the seedy side of the sex trade, and a run-in with dirty cops. Ten's investigation has him digging into Afrodite and her associates' histories which lead him to the rough inner city where her childhood was less than perfect. Her salvation came via the idolatry of Shareef, a Tupac-like persona, who befriends Afrodite and propelled her to stardom. Ten notices similarities between Shareef's unsolved murder from years before and Afrodite's recent demise and with the aid of a reporter (and love interest) follows the clues that lead to Afrodite's sister, a rap rival who has a penchant for guns and underage girls, her childhood friend and business manager, and the mob. He haphazardly stumbles into a life-threatening situation where only his quick thinking and martial arts training save him.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Casanegra doesn't fit perfectly into any single genre and that's why it's so fresh and original. The team of Blair Underwood, Tannarive Due and Steven Barnes manages quite well to create a believable black character that will be enjoyed by mystery and action lovers as well as those attracted to steamy romance and sex. Tennyson Hardwick is a former gigolo and current bodyguard/aspiring actor...he's also the son of an extremely well respected (but now retired) police detective.

Hardwick can best be described as 'a man of contrasts'. He is well educated and intelligent as well as good looking and athletic; at the same time Tennyson Hardwick has delved deeply into the sex for pay industry and not above lying to police and anyone else that he finds to be a threat. Through all this Hardwick has a rock solid code of ethics that shines through in this story.

After meeting up with Serena (AKA Afrodite, superstar rapper and actress); once a "customer" but now that Hardwick is out of the sex biz she becomes a recipient of "T"s talents for free. The next day Serena is found dead and Hardwick is the number one suspect. And it's up to Tennyson Hardwick to clear his own name and (more importantly to him) find justice for Serena. This novel does an impressive job of keeping the reader involved and interested in the story, while simultaneously giving an insiders view of the sex trade, hip-hop culture and the difficulties faced by upcoming actors. Underwood/Due/Barnes seem to be able to look at these three areas with relatively open minds. There are no hard lines here, the reader gets to see both the dark and the light side of what essentially (even the sex trade) is popular entertainment. Not easy to do in a world that more and more prefers absolutes.
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