From Publishers Weekly
Jones returns to the oppressive, crack-addicted world of the Philadelphia underclass of his powerful debut, Pipe Dream (2001), with this ambitious story. In 1990, a nine year-old girl, Kenya Brown, disappears from a grim housing project known as "the Bridge," and two African-American detectives-Kevin Lynch, who grew up in the Bridge, and Roxanne Wilson, a single mother-lead the police search. Also hunting for Kenya are her irresponsible mother Daneen, a recovering crack addict and Lynch's childhood friend; Daneen's aunt Judy, a crack dealer with whom Kenya lived; and Daneen's feckless brother Darnell. The culprit seems to be Judy's lover and business partner, drug distributor Sonny Williams, a suspected child abuser. As the search for him overshadows that for the missing Kenya, Sonny improvises to avoid capture, causing havoc throughout the city, with political repercussions. The guilty party comes as a surprise, but the real villain in this complex tale is society. Each character's story reveals how the desperate poverty and hopelessness of ghetto life lead to drugs, teenage pregnancy and violent personal relationships. Jones also shows the superhuman task of the few people, usually women, who fight against the odds to ensure that their children escape from the Bridge. The plotting is well paced, with some shortcuts and one unpardonable deus ex machina. Jones, who grew up in the Philadelphia projects and knows his subject well, is a talent to watch.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The premise of Jones' second novel reads like the kind of front-page story a Hollywood executive might envision as an action movie with a Message. When nine-year-old Kenya Brown disappears from the squalid Philadelphia housing-project apartment she shares with her crack-dealing Aunt Judy, the cop called to save the day is Kevin Lynch, who grew up on the same mean streets. The Bridge
is much more ambitious than its plot, however. Like a rock dropped in a pond, the crime has effects that ripple outward to encompass other building residents, then other Philly projects, then the whole city. Jones shows us just how much lies behind a shocking crime that surfaces suddenly in the headlines, and he is far more interested in who is hurt than whodunit. Although dialogue sometimes runs on too long, the voices ring true, especially those of the well-rendered women characters. Not the head-turning success of his debut, Pipe Dream
(2001), Jones' latest nevertheless confirms his potential to become a major voice in crime fiction. Keir GraffCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved