Cameisha Douglass has it all a sprawling home in a posh neighborhood, a fancy car, three healthy children, and a husband, Fashad, who is devoted to her. Her biggest worry is catching her daytime soap operas before the kids come home from school and her husband returns from work, "businesses" that everyone knows are mere fronts through which he launders his drug-dealing money. But as the emotional and sexual secrets of her family come to the surface, she can no longer deny that her life is not all that it seems. While family members point fingers at one another, the real threat may come from the outside, specifically from Smokey, a mixed-race twenty-year-old high school dropout and would-be rapper whose issues with sexual and racial identity fuel his inner rage.
Written by a daring young author with a compelling voice, 5 Minutes and 42 Seconds is a fast-paced and edgy thriller that explores the questions of identity and sexuality with refreshing vigor.
|Product dimensions:||5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.57(d)|
About the Author
A native of Ohio, T. J. Williams is an undergraduate at Princeton University. This is his first novel.
Read an Excerpt
5 Minutes and 42 Seconds
By Timothy Williams
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Timothy Williams
All right reserved.
Inside a perfect house, in a perfect neighborhood, on a well-paved street with mansions to either side, a trumpet sounds, and the procedure begins.
Cameisha Douglass stands at the bottom of the stairs, trumpet in hand. Her hair still wrapped in a sleeping bun, her face thick with the makeup she slept in just in case her philandering husband, Fashad, comes home for a change.
"Cold blue!" she screams, not realizing the proper term is "code blue." Feet pitter-patter in the distance as the children move toward their designated stations. Her youngest children, Taj and JD, have both the most important and easiest task. When the trumpet sounds, they are to run to the bathroom, remove stockpiles of cocaine from beneath a panel in the floor, and flush their father's coke down the toilet. For now, they are flushing the flour Cameisha switched with the real stuff earlier. The job is simple, the children young and impressionable.
With her daughter, Dream, things are more complicated. Dream doesn't bother getting up when she hears the signal. Cameisha barges into her daughter's room without knocking. Dream slightly removes the covers from her face revealing a round, full face, caked with makeup, imitative of the thinnermush of CoverGirl supporting her mother's much thinner features.
"If you don't get your black ass out that bed and do what your stepfather told you to do, I will beat the black off of it," says Cameisha.
Dream rolls over, ignoring her. Cameisha grabs the covers and Dream tugs them back -- Cameisha gives her an impatient motherly stare. Dream lets go of the covers, then throws a fit, as if she is the youngest child in the household. Nevertheless, she gets up soon after.
Cameisha passes the bathroom where the boys, kneeling like altar boys, flush the cocaine. Ten seconds later she's back down the stairs, busy with her own task of removing clothes from the living room closet, thus making room for a trap door that is to be cut in the interior of the closet. By the time she removes the last garment, Dream has reluctantly mobilized and stands in the hallway with a chain saw, ready to cut. But before Dream gets started, Cameisha presents her with a wooden box. "Practice on this," she says. "I ain't fuckin' up my closet for nothing."
Dream rolls her eyes, then starts the chain saw. Taj and JD scurry about upstairs, shaking salt shakers to throw off the scent when the dogs come. Dream finishes cutting. The four of them race to a television that isn't really a television and remove a huge sum of money from the hollow space inside, where wiring and electronics used to be. They rush and sweat as they transfer the cash from the TV to the safe. Quality time, the Douglass family way.
Cameisha checks her watch, stops the timer. "Five minutes and forty-two seconds," she says. "That should be fast enough."
Excerpted from 5 Minutes and 42 Seconds by Timothy Williams Copyright © 2006 by Timothy Williams. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Douglass brood is trained to dispose illegal drugs and wads of cash in 5 Minutes and 42 Seconds from the time the trumpet sounds warning them the Feds are coming. The family members are precise and never fail to carry out the assignment in such a way that the military would be proud. This ability to destroy the evidence in a timely manner has enabled the patriarch Fashad to maintain his position of drug lord though he has many law enforcement people wanting to lock him away and rivals wanting to take over his lucrative trade. --- However, there has been a subtle change in relationships within the family. Fashad¿s wife Cameisha is angry with her husband whom she feels is cheating on her with an unknown younger woman. She decides when the next drill occurs to abscond with the loot and leave the drugs for the cops to find. Fashad¿s right hand man Smokey also has plans to eliminate his boss, whom took him sexually as a teen though he currently dates Fashad¿s daughter Dream. When the trumpet blows Fashad finds himself left behind to face the law with only his lover Xander trying to protect him and he has an agenda too as he sets in motion a plan to eliminate Cameisha as the drugpin¿s significant other. --- This is an intriguing crime caper in which the participants plan double and triple crosses using the law and human foibles as tools to achieve their objective. The characters are avaricious and nasty using love as a rationale for their actions. Fashad is a fascinating mix as readers and his wife will be shocked by who his lover is though the hints are obvious from Smokey¿s reactions towards the drug king. Fans of wild character driven crime thrillers like Get Shorty will appreciate 5 MINUTES and 42 SECONDS. --- Harriet Klausner
I enjoyed this book very much, it's a great gay, black read. Definitely not high brow, trashy - yes. Has some great lines! A page turner.
Very good book! Could not put it down! Has a crazy twist to it!
I believe that this book is a great first novel. There were some confusing parts. I am a DETROITER and I believe that we were done a disservice. At points I even questioned had he ever been to Detroit. Overall, I would still recommend this book to my sister circle.
WHAT A REAL TWISTER OF A STORY. IF YOU LOVE INTRIGUE AND MYSTERY, THIS IS THE NOVEL FOR YOU. EVERYONE IS PLOTTING TO GET THEIR HANDS ON A SUITCASE FILLED WITH MONEY. THE MAIN CHARACTER FASHAD IS SLEEPING WITH HIS WIFE AND LOTS OF MEN ON THE DOWN-LOW. FASHAD THINKS HE IS IN CONTROL, BUT HE HAS A SURPRISE WAITING FOR HIM AT THE END 0F THE STORY. ENJOY.
This is a raw, compelling, in-your-face story about love set against the backdrop of Detroit. It's not only a page-turner, but it also has a much broader meaning that anyone can relate to. With its vivid language and subtle nuances sprinkled throughout the text, it's definitely positioned to become an American classic for a new generation of writers and readers.