Sunday, March 20, 2011

Heartbreak of a Hustler’s Wife-Nikki Turner

Heartbreak of a Hustler’s Wife
Nikki Turner
Ballantine One World, Apr 5 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780345511089

In Richmond, shook by the attempt on her husband Des’ life, attorney Yarni Taylor prays for her spouse to give up his street hustlin’ ways and be a by example pastor to the congregation of the Lady of the Good Life Ministry. Des insists he will once he deals with the punk who shot at him and the insolent fool who robbed the church during services.

Already concerned with her husband’s safety, Yarni turns frantic when non-clients appear at the law firm reminding her of five years old daughter's kidnapping. Eighteen year old Desember Day (see Natural Born Hustler) claims to be Des’ daughter; an offspring he never knew he sired until she came to their door. In spite of never having met before, Desember proves to be a chip off her father’s block with a knack to landing in trouble. Yarni comes from a line of hustlers so knows what she must do to break the gangsta cycle. For her to keep the street out of her home, church and law office means confronting those who threaten her dream even family members.

The latest “Hustler” street lit (see A Hustler’s Wife and Forever a Hustler’s Wife) is a terrific family drama as once again Nikki Turner makes straddling the fence between the gangsta hustle and that of the middle class hustle seem real due to a strong cast. Yarni is fabulous as she struggles between her dreams and her compromised reality. Des feels as pulled in multiple directions as his wife does. Though the novel has a sort of been there- done that sense of a transition book, the extended family and the congregation enhance an entertaining character driven hip hop thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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