5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2003
"Spiral" by Denise Turney, describes the rippling effect of fear when characters refuse to be courageous and speak the truth. Their refusal to speak the truth causes other characters to suffer the consequences. These consequences lead to more consequences. Thus, a spiraling effect.
The story begins with a black man picking up a little girl. Next we are introduced to the strong African American middle class Tilson family. The Armstrongs, another African American family, is introduced in the third chapter. These three chapters seem to have no connection. As the story continues, you begin to see some connections. When little White girls are missing, the connection becomes more evident. The police suspect an African American man. The Armstrong and Tilson families are targets. However, police raids through the African American community produce no evidence nor suspects.
Now the adults in the Tilson and Armstrong families have their suspicions. Even some of the children have their suspicions, too. A couple of the children have "felt" and "sensed" the missing girls' spirits. One or two of the children have actually seen something. The families remain quiet. As a result, other characters are accused and the consequences impact both families.
"Spiral" is a very interesting story. Missing White girls and its impact on the African American community is a unique subject. Turney does a good job describing the impact. However, I had a problem with credibility. I do not believe a White girl would get into a truck with a Black man she does not know, particularly in Memphis, Tennessee. Another problem I had with the story was the police raid in the community. Given the time period, 1930s, I am surprised that the police just came into the homes and did not drag any Black men out of the houses. No Black men were jailed or lynched, either.
Turney's other storyline of enduring love is overlooked because she zips through the years. Smoother transitions between the time periods would help. The spirituality theme is interspersed throughout the story, but the power of the spirit is not fully developed in the characters who are spiritual. Although these were the weak points in the story, the unique subject matter is the story's strength. I commend Turney for her efforts.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2003
This is a very interesting book! I couldn't stop reading it once I picked it up. To me this book is more about the choices we make than anything else. I will admit I didn't like what happened to one of the characters in the book. That really bothered me. The person I wanted to see "get theirs" didn't seem to. I definitely couldn't guess what was going to happen next. I like that the author writes about a subject that's different from many books on the market right now.
The strength of some of the Tilson family members, especially the oldest sister and the grandmother, are awesome! They know what it means to stand with someone through the toughest of times. While I read this book I thought about some real life situations where people are accused of something they didn't do but are punished for it very hard anyway.
One of the characters in this book's life is so changed for something he didn't do. I found that very painful to read. I highly recommend this book. I plan to read it again myself!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2004
Denise Turney's, Spiral, takes us into a history of unsolved child kidnappings. One woman, Tammy Tilson, appears to be at the center of it all. Does she really know something; or is her family just in the wrong places at the wrong times? A family that has been blessed with foresight, finds that knowing is not always a good thing.
Memphis, Tennessee in 1936 is where Denise starts her story. Everybody knows everybody and their business, especially black folks' business. Tammy knows the law, and what can or cannot be done legally to her and her loved ones. She's strong and a fighter, but soon realizes that she can't be everything to everybody. She has to let her children live their lives, and marry whom they choose. Her mother told her on her deathbed, to not let evil into the bloodline or it'll be the ruin of the family. With that as her mantra, Tammy knows that the union between her son, David, and Margaret Armstrong will be of no good. Especially with Ramsey Armstrong as a father; he looks as if he's been snatched up by the clay people.
In the end, the mantra shows to be true. The journey of the discoveries found out a long the way gives hope that an innocent boy will not have to suffer the consequences of a silent man. Will the wrongs be righted? Can marriages be saved? Will little girls be able to sleep at night without the presence of dead ones?
Spiral is a great story about family and secrets living in a small town. I loved the history and the mystery behind getting to the truth. My only disappointment is that the ending didn't have as strong of a feeling as the rest of the book. I'd recommend to those who like a little of the supernatural combined in their mystery.
on September 13, 2003
Little girls are being kidnapped and murdered in Greasy Plank, a small suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. All of the town's men are suspected, although all leads point in the direction of white, all-powerful Jack Robinson and his lackey, Ramsey Armstrong. The novel follows several generations of townspeople, including Ramsey's family and the Tilsons, another prominent family in Greasy Plank. The story shows what can happen when families keep secrets and the repercussions that may occur because of them.
Laced with history and mysticism, the novel has twists and turns that keep it exciting. My only criticism is that the book has so many characters that it is often confusing trying to keep track of them and their relationships. I look forward to future works from denise turney.
Reviewed by Latoya Carter-Qawiyy