The Street Life Series: Is it Rags or Riches? by Kevin M. Weeks Xlibris
reviewed by Peter M. Fitzpatrick
"The street life and the corporate life aren't that different. There are just very opposing rules."
Picasso's famous dictum that art is a lie that tells the truth can also describe fiction writing. Such truths are not always easily discernible. The mystery and illusion in cubist and other masterpieces is essential to their power. Rags or Riches is also formed with fractured perspective and shifting identity. Essentially urban, the novel combines no less than three major metropolitan areas. Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Atlanta law enforcement must band together to wage literal war on a former special-forces operative lost in his own private world of cold-blooded murder and mayhem. Yet his vendetta is motivated by a skewed sense of justice. A detective who successfully solves crimes with six-sided dice and a villain who plots his destruction by treating the city of Atlanta like a chessboard are just some of the puzzles and games that make up this scenario of puppets and string-pullers.
Contradiction, ambiguity, and enigma permeate the narrative and characters. Twin sisters on opposite sides of the drug trade. Or are they? Two brothers, one doing hard time for ten years for a murder he didn't commit; the other a hard-bitten drug lord intent on dominating the drug trade in greater metropolitan Atlanta—a free man. Then there is Atlanta itself, where the story is set. Burned by Sherman in the Civil War because of its function as a munitions depot for the railroad system of the Confederacy, it is now one of the most multicultural cities in America, with one of the largest and wealthiest African American communities in the country. The author shows his love and admiration for the city while painting a gritty and realistic picture of the power of drugs and the pull of the street life. Possibilities of redemption and renewal emerge against an aggressive background of entrapment and menace. Plenty of action and plot twists make this third novel in the Street Life series a page-turner that is both ultra-modern and unique.