Up Jumped the Devilby Thomas Baum, Malcolm Jamal Warner
A reporter for the Baltimore Herald, Darryl Billups never wanted to be a hero. He's just a hardworking black journalist who's been passed up and looked down upon because he won't kiss butt and always speaks his mind. That doesn't change the fact that he's one of the best damn newspapermen on the East Coast and his editors know it. And soon the whole city will too.
A lot of people are going to get hurt. . .I'm not playing games...I thought you might want to do something about it.
At first hew ignores the voice mail message warning him about an impending wave of white supremacist violencejust another crackpot with nothing better to do with his time than make crank phone calls. After all, Darryl has his own problems: a boss who's itching to fire him, a hot new lady love, Yolanda , who just moved in...along with her little boy, Jamal. But when bombs start to go off all over town and a noted liberal philanthropist is slain, Billups quickly becomes a believer.
The populace is in a panic. And the police don't have a clue. The devil has come to Baltimore spouting neo-Nazi garbage, and he's challenging a solitary black journalist to hunt him down.
Warned that the headquarters of the NAACP is the next target, Darryl is off and runningchasing a deadly urban nightmare to its rotting poisonous core.
But now, suddenly, the stakes are getting higher, deadlier and more personal, rocking Darryl's world in ways he never imagined possible. And with a city and his new family under siege, Darryl Billups is after justice. . .as well as the story of a lifetime. But it could cost him his life to get it.
Surprising, gritty, authentic and electrifying, UP JUMPED THE DEVILheralds the arrival of a major new voice in suspense fiction. Blair S. Walkerand Darryl Billupsare here to stay.
What ought to be a foolproof nail-biter is sabotaged with so many subplots and scores to settlethe characters have as many unrelated stories to tell as the Herald's Metro sectionthat Dillard's crew of crazies is shrunk down to just one more nuisance in Darryl's life. But first-novelist Walker certainly has a big enough canvas for the promised series.
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Read an Excerpt
THE DUMBSTRUCK FACES OF THE BLACK MEN AND WOMEN trapped in the disintegrating NAACP building were what Mark Dillard recalled most vividly about the dream. That and the voluptuous woman in the tattered green dress whose breasts jiggled like Jell-O as she fell slow-motion to her death.
"Serves you right, stupid nigger bitch. Serves you right," Dillard muttered.
Groping under his bed for a smoke, he brushed his callused hand against a gritty work boot, a size 32B WonderBra and a rubber whose ninety seconds of glory had come and gone.
Dillard snapped the bedsheet off and sat upright in one athletic movement. His woman, under the influence of a marijuana/scotch sedative, never altered her light, rhythmic snoring.
A pastel Baltimore dawn gleamed faintly through the bedroom window as Dillard got down on all fours. Naked as a jaybird, straining to see in the semidarkness, he could barely make out the outline of a cigarette pack.
Last night marked the third time in a week the dream had rattled around inside Dillard's head. It never varied in detail, from the shock wave of superheated gases peeling away the front of the NAACP's national headquarters, to Dillard's dispassionate gawking.
Judging from his cool reaction, he knew he would be up to the task. D-Day was inexorably approaching, in fact, although not fast enough for Dillard.
It never occurred to him that the dream always unfolded silently, without the cataclysmic thunderclap of the bomb or the otherworldly groans of the wounded and dying.
All that mattered was that he was locked on the target.
Placing a Camel between his lips,Dillard struck a match and sat motionless, mesmerized by the quivering flame. Yellowish white at the top, indigo at the bottom, it danced a lively minuet dictated by the subtlest change in air currents. It amazed Dillard that something so small and seemingly benign could unleash such incredible destructive power.Thank God for little miracles.
Meet the Author
The son of two Baltimore public school teachers, Blair S. Walker used to entertain himself in elementary school by writing short stories. The practice was frowned upon by instructors who wanted Walker to pay attention in class rather than secretly heed his muse. After serving in the Army as a Korean linguist, Walker attended the University of Maryland and worked as an intern reporter with the Baltimore Sun. Hired by the Orlando Sentinel after college, Walker was fired after six months by an editor who disparagingly noted that Walker’s writing ability was marginal at best! A former financial writer with USA Today, Walker has been an editor with New York Newsday and the Washington Post, and a newsman with the Associated Press. The author of three novels featuring investigative reporter Darryl Billups, Walker holds a University of Maryland J.D. degree and currently lives in South Florida, where he’s pursuing a lifelong dream of learning to fly helicopters.
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