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Strange Bedfellows: A Charlotte Justice Novel (Charlotte Justice Novels) Hardcover – January 31, 2006

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Product Details

  • Series: Charlotte Justice Novels
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: One World/Ballantine; First Edition edition (January 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345457021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345457028
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,777,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Woods's searing fourth Charlotte Justice novel (after 2003's Dirty Laundry), the troubled, hot-tempered LAPD detective looks into an attack on politically connected Chuck Zuccari, the elderly head of a successful toy company; his pregnant young wife, Alma; and their business associates, intellectual African-American Muslims Malik and Habiba Shareef. It's a complicated case: Zuccari's dysfunctional family and business are rife with infighting; his company is being defrauded; the FBI is investigating the too squeaky-clean Shareefs. Meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with professional demands, racial and gender prejudice, and her interfering lover, Dr. Aubrey Scott, and family. Set in 1993, this multilayered novel may at first confuse new readers with its many plot threads and characters from previous books in the series, but all will appreciate its stunning conclusion as well as its rich portrait of LAPD politics and of the African-American community. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Aptly named LAPD homicide detective Charlotte Justice, haunted by the long-ago murder of her husband and daughter, is obsessed with helping other victims find the closure she craves. Prickly and outspoken, she loathes smaller injustices, too, ever-alert to the casual racist and sexist slurs that permeate her profession (though she calls an elderly driver a "Q-Tip"). In her fourth novel (following Dirty Laundry, 2003), a missing suspect from an old case turns up injured in a car accident, reigniting an investigation into a drive-by shooting that left a toy company tycoon in a coma. As Justice unravels the tycoon's family's secrets, new clues bring to light secrets in her own family--and the lies that have been told to keep them. Though the byzantine plot will please readers who enjoy unraveling snarls, procedural fans who like a fast pace will do better elsewhere, as nearly all of Strange Bedfellows unfolds in flashback, interior monologue, or talky conversation. Further dampening the excitement, several discoveries happen offstage. Still, Woods'unique mix of moral outrage, social commentary, and therapy definitely has an audience. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Paula L. Woods is the author of the Charlotte Justice mystery series, including STRANGE BEDFELLOWS (2006). In conjunction with publication of the fourth novel in the series, Paula is sponsoring the Get Justice! Sweepstakes on her website,, where a lucky winner can win a weekend in Los Angeles. She invites you to visit the site and enter the sweepstakes.

DIRTY LAUNDRY (2003), third novel in the Charlotte Justice series, was named a best mystery by the Seattle Times and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel STORMY WEATHER (2001), the second in the series, was a September 2001 Penzler's Pick on and was named one of the best books of 2001 by the Los Angeles Times and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. INNER CITY BLUES (1999), the first Charlotte Justice mystery, was on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list for three weeks and was also named by the newspaper as one of the best books of 1999. Inner City Blues received the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery, was named Best First Novel by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and was nominated for the Edgar and Anthony awards for best first mystery novel.

Paula began writing mysteries after studying the genre and editing the critically acclaimed anthology SPOOKS, SPIES, AND PRIVATE EYES: BLACK MYSTERY, CRIME, AND SUSPENSE FICTION OF THE 20TH CENTURY (1995). Although SPOOKS, SPIES was nominated for an Anthony Award, Macavity Award, and received a special award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Woods always thought a voice was missing from the collection, "that of a female cop who was tough as nails but feminine enough to get her nails done." Charlotte Justice was her dynamic addition to the genre.

With Felix H. Liddell, Paula also wrote and/or edited the best-selling I, TOO SING AMERICA: THE AFRICAN AMERICAN BOOK OF DAYS (1992), as well as MERRY CHRISTMAS, BABY: A CHRISTMAS AND KWANZAA TREASURY (1996), and I HEAR A SYMPHONY: AFRICAN AMERICANS CELEBRATE LOVE (1994), the latter of which won Fiction Honors from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Multicultural Literature.

A member of the National Book Critics Circle, she reviews books regularly for the Los Angeles Times and has served a a mystery columnist for the Washington Post.

Paula is a member of Mystery Writers of America and other crime writing associations. She has also served as an Edgar judge, on the Author Committee of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and speaker at the festival.

Paula's novels are noted by critics for their searing analysis of race and gender politics in the LAPD, portrayal of a loving if dysfunctional family and strong evocation of Los Angeles' diverse ethnic communities. An L.A. native, Paula's lifelong love of books and reading has resulted in the growth of her personal library to over 1,000 volumes.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dera R Williams VINE VOICE on August 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
At the end of Dirty Laundry, we found Charlotte Justice embroiled in mounting issues just when she was beginning to think her life was settling down. This last case was fraught not only with hard core murder but entanglements with fellow officers who were sexually harassing her and her sister colleagues. There were also links to the gruesome murder that killed her young criminologist husband, Keith, and daughter, Erica, thirteen years prior that were beginning to surface. Now as Strange Bedfellows opens, Paula Woods spins another Los Angeles yarn with twists and turns that fling readers into the wide open L.A. highways like the Santa Ana winds.

Charlotte finds her job is on the line when a culmination of events has overwhelmed her and she is sent to "Chinatown", the psych division for L.A.P.D officers. In denial and protesting all the way, she is flat out told if she does not accept help, she can kiss her job goodbye. This is a sentence worse than death. "For who am I without my job?" Charlotte asks herself. It has just been one week since she wrapped up her last emotional case when she discovers her brother has stolen files from her home relating to Keith's cases; somehow she suspects her mother is involved. But a cold case has resurfaced and the adrenaline is running through her veins. She jumps in headlong but has she gone from the frying pan into the skillet?

Chuck Zucarri, CEO of CZ Toys, is lying in the hospital in a coma after a mysterious shooting and a young intern who worked in his financial department is found in the Central Valley in a coma after a car accident with a stash of $27,000. The plot thickens when the FBI is called in and a black agent is gung ho about dragging the Nation of Islam into the fracas.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Urban Reviews VINE VOICE on April 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Detective Charlotte Justice is back with another perplexing and disturbing case. She is trying to solve a very public shooting of CEO and chairman Chuck Zuccari, his wife Alma, and their business partners Malik and Habiba Shareef. But this case is not what it seems. There is a dangerous web of Zuccari family secrets that anybody would kill to keep. Charlotte is slapped in the face with her own family secrets. She finally finds out why her brother Perris stole her late husband Keith's files from her house. Perris must tell Charlotte the awful truth behind her husband and daughter's murders. On top of all that, Charlotte has to go through job-required psychological counseling that may lead to the turning point of her career.

Strange Bedfellows is a spellbinding novel by Paula L. Woods. Woods once again brought an outstanding mystery with a lot of twists and turns. Readers will really need to pay attention to the intricate details of this story. I liked how the author incorporated the toy industry into the storyline. I literally didn't know the answer to the mystery until it was revealed. This is the mark of a good crime fiction novelist. This novel reads like a shocking Law and Order episode. Strange Bedfellows is a shining example of why Paula L. Woods is one of the masters of crime fiction.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on February 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Strange Bedfellows is the fourth in the Charlotte Justice series. Justice is an African-American Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective who is in therapy due to some recent killings. She is driven to solve crimes to help the victim's families but her urge is based on the murder of her criminology professor husband and their infant daughter in a drive-by shooting 13 years ago.

Justice deals with narrow-minded colleagues who still can't handle diversity, and her proud family who feel her career is inappropriate and prefer doctors and lawyers. (Charlotte's brother resigned from the police force after the drive-by shooting; and is now an attorney.)

Charlotte is "passed" by her therapist to return to work temporarily to help with a cold case that resurfaces following eight months with no activity.

Two prominent couples were shot as they left a restaurant. One couple is a white, wealthy, conservative toy manufacturer and his young, pregnant trophy wife. The other is an African-American couple trying to do business with the toy company and produce some ethnic dolls. Malik Shareef and his wife, Habiba, were known for a groundbreaking survey and book about how dolls affect children's self-image.

The author, Paula Woods, is known for her depiction of South Central areas of Los Angeles. She feels that cops are at the center of trying to keep the peace, keep people secure and provide justice.

Homicide Detective Charlotte Justice is a complicated, intense, righteous woman, someone who would make a good friend and an excellent cop. When your employer and colleagues do not have the same values and integrity, things can get difficult--and she's gets in the thick of it.

Armchair Interviews says: This taut, well-written mystery will have you guessing up to the very end--the plot twists and turns are astonishing.
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By Chris on July 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started with the last book in the series and worked back. That was a serious mistake. It would help if Amazon clearly numbered the books so you could start with the first in the series that way if would be easier to see the character development. This book and the previous one seemed dark and darker. I'm not going to read anymore as I like to see there is light at the end of the tunnel for at least the main character. By this I don't mean they meet a hunky guy get married and live happily ever after just they are not so screwed up/scared/depressed all the time.
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