In a street war, there's always a body to be discovered.
Lamar Dunken is a dedicated monster who presents the perfect image of a street terrorist. He knows how to respond when a desperate crisis threatens his operation, and he exacts horrifying tactics to get things under control.
FBI Special Agent Livingston is faced with the serious task of investigating Lamar's tactics while connecting killings start to terrorize Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Also, a violent criminal locked behind bars a year before Lamar was even born is back on the streets and looking for him. Lamar is forced to call on his deepest strength to face his accusers and ensure that the values that he holds most dear will survive.
The nightmare has begun.
And, over again.
|Publisher:||Prodigy Gold Books|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Rahiem Jerome Brooks is the breakout novelist and is a member of the Mystery Writers of America. His debut thriller, LAUGH NOW won 2010 African-Americans on the Move Book Club's (AAMBC) Book of the Year & he earned 2011 AAMBC Author of the Year. LAUGH NOW also the Most Creative Plot at the DMV Expo's Creative Excellent Awards. Rahiem was also nominated at the 2011 & 2012 African-American Literary Awards for Mystery of the Year for Con Test and Murder in Germantown.
Rahiem Brooks worked on a Film/TV certificate program at University of California, Los Angeles; however, he currently studies English at Harvard University.
He permanently resides in Philadelphia, PA.
Read an Excerpt
Lamar "Lambchop" Dunken strolled hastily out of Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility and gazed up at the afternoon sky, watching as a flock of pigeons soared over his head. It was a wonder any Philadelphian made it out of the jail alive or corrected. The personnel was about as trained as the staff of a Taco Bell fast food joint, maybe even less. At twenty, he was a determined, optimistic young man. With the exception of those whom he robbed or shot, he had little use for people.
He walked towards his partner in crime, Gerald "Gunna" Robinson, who was parked and waited for him. He passed a woman pushing a baby stroller headed to visit one of the maximum security inmates at CFCF. There was a loud, incessant banging coming from an inmate pounding a hair brush against their cell window trying to get the woman's attention. The day before, that was Lamar, but he was as free as the birds that flew above with no intentions of returning to the jail. He stood five feet six, weighed one hundred sixty pounds, and was solid. Dressed in a white cotton T-shirt and jeans, his feet encased in size nine Nikes, his light-brown skin glistened in the afternoon sunlight. The cool mid-September air didn't effect him. Lamar had always been oblivious to temperature. Weather, however, was something he could now appreciate. For the past eighteen-months the jail had been his home and in there it was all one season: Cold!
Lamar's enthusiasm surged as he got closer to Gunna and caught a glimpse of a gun print on his side when a light breeze brushed up against him. He was standing next to a black Oldsmobile Delta Eighty-eight, with his hand out for Lamar to shake.
"'Bout time, my nigga. I have been out here two hours," Gunna said, having grown tired of waiting.
At twenty-one, Gunna was a slim and youthful looking man, with a close-cropped set of waves, pronounced lips, and large brown eyes. His caramel complexion looked good and he was often called a pretty-boy, even though he had a neatly trimmed full beard. He lived the kind of reckless life forcing his mother to go to bed at night wondering if he was dead or alive, and that was his biggest problem. None of his crimes mattered.
"You all right?" Gunna asked, pulling onto State Road. He had noticed that Lamar was quiet.
"I'm tryin' to get to Nikia," Lamar replied, noticing that Gunna wasn't headed toward his house. "Yo, you going the wrong way."
"Chill, cannon. I'm gonna get you there, but first, I'm gonna get you right at the mall." Gunna smiled.
A half-hour later they pulled into the parking lot of Franklin Mills Mall. Gunna cut the car off, but the Young Jeezy lyrics about getting money still rang in their minds. Gunna removed a cherry-flavored Backwood laced with weed from his shirt pocket, looked at Lamar, and grinned.
"Let's blow real quick 'cause you look stressed the fuck out."
"Just got out of jail, man. Things on my mind."
"And what's that?"
"First, getting these clothes you promised me so I can get home to wifey."
"Stacking ten million to get the fuck outta the game."
"Ten million?" Gunna repeated the amount with doubt riddled in his voice. He added a chuckle.
What a joke? Everything was a joke when you really thought about it.
"I don't know, bull," Gunna said, "even the old head Slam ain't have it poppin' like that, and he had the block on smash back in the eighties. That's when shit was really sweet."
"Slam? Man, Slam ain't me. And that was then. This is now and our time is now. The block is ours now."
Gunna smiled at the determination of his friend. "Only time will tell. But let's go shopping first."
Lamar and Gunna, friends since kindergarten, and sat in Talim classes (instruction in Quran and hadith and sometimes Islamic law) together at the neighborhood mosque. Both of their fathers were Muslim and raised them to practice the Islamic faith. They no longer attended Friday Jumah services at Masjid Al-Wasatiyah Wal-Itidaal, and barely offered one of the five daily obligatory prayers. Well, Lamar had been praying in jail with other Muslim inmates, but that was more to fit into the prison element, as opposed to a true dedication to his faith. Undoubtedly, now that he was released with the prosecution having been withdrawn, his prayers — five times a day — had been answered, and now it was back to blood and bullets.
Killing, or be killed.
After hitting the Neiman Marcus Outlet, the Polo Outlet, and a few other stores, Lamar made the last stop Victoria's Secret. He purchased something that he thought Nikia would look good in for his pleasure. The duo had spent over two grand and was back on I-95 headed back to their Southwest hood.
After a half-hour drive, because for some odd reason, rush hour traffic was thin, they exited at Graysferry Avenue. Lamar had been listening to music, watching the city fly by, his thoughts interrupted when they pulled to the light near a Sunoco gas station. Gunna made two left turns, and then a right around the bend leading to Lindbergh Boulevard.
"You ever wonder why the fuck they got a waste disposal site in the middle of the hood," Lamar asked, turning his nose up at the stench emanating from the city's trash dump.
"The government thinks we're some shit, that's why," Gunna replied, shaking his head, making a right turn.
Two lights later, Lamar watched two young bulls running up to cars in the Amoco gas station, trying to make some change by pumping people's gas. The visual was a clear indication, he was home: Bartram Village.
Bartram Village, a small neighborhood in Southwest Philadelphia, comprised the vicinity of South Fifty-sixth Street and Lindbergh Boulevard. The neighborhood took its name from the noted botanist, John Bartram, whose historical home and gardens, Bartram Gardens, was nearby, and deemed a National Historic Landmark. Lurking amidst this history, though, lied a housing project located at Fifty-fourth Street and Elmwood Avenue, appropriately called, Bartram Village.
Making a left into Bartram Village, Gunna beeped the horn and Lamar waved at a group of old heads on the top of the hill. The men were drinking Wild Irish Rose and Steel Reserve 211 cheap beer, uncharacteristically, named after the police's radio call for a robbery in progress. On this hill, though, it robbed men of their capacity to think. They were drinking and playing cards on a foldable table wasting their day away, and teaching Lamar a valuable lesson. He didn't want to be like them.
Continuing along, Lamar saw dudes posted in different groups selling everything from coke to weed, syrup to water ice. It didn't matter what was looked for; they had it.
Gunna lived in the 5401 Building, named Harley Terrace, but known as Baby Harlem, a sibling of Harlem, New York. The strip reminded Lamar of the eighties. He had grown up watching fiends making lines that wrapped around the corner, waiting to be served their drug of choice; no customer service required.
Entering the building, Lamar and Gunna were met by six dudes bent over in front of the stairway. When the men saw them approaching they stopped their street craps game, and in unison said, "What's up, y'all?" "Ain't nothing. Same shit," Lamar replied.
"What it hittin' for?" Gunna said.
The chubby one out of the group, Turk, held up the dice, and replied, "You already know," adding a smile.
They all laughed and Gunna and Lamar headed up the steps to the second floor.
"I know you thought the clothes was it, but I got something else real nice for you," Gunna stated, walking into the apartment. "Follow me, my man."
Gunna threw his keys on the table and led the way towards the back room. He walked Lamar to a large picture of the deceased rapper, The Notorious B.I.G., dressed in all white à la Scarface. He took the portrait down, revealing a small safe, spun the dial a few times, and the door slid open. Inside were a few stacks of cash bound in bank wraps marked five-thousand-dollars each, along with a menacing Glock 22 .40-caliber black safety-action pistol.
"Here," Gunna said, tossing a stack of cash to Lamar.
He caught it and stuffed it into his leather jacket pocket, appreciating his man's gesture. He planned to add it to what he had stashed before he went to jail.
"One more thing," Gunna said.
Gunna picked up the weapon, handed it to him, and he graciously accepted the cold piece of steel. He had not touched a gun since his arrest, but for Lamar, it was like riding a bike: he'd never forget how to shoot one. Methodically, he released the magazine, allowed it to fall into his palm, and noticed it was fully loaded. He then slid it back into the gun and pulled the slide back, lodging one into the chamber. He smiled as he admired its beauty and the power he instantly gained.
"Yeah," mused Lamar. "This's one nice piece of work right here."
"I knew you'd like it. I got a nice little gun connect, too. But we'll get into that later. Go ahead and holla at your girl. I got a lot of twork lined up for us come next week. You got all this week to chill, then, we back in effect. You can take the phone and the wheel. I'm gonna fall back here for a little bit. If I need to go somewhere, I'll get a ride from Trap or Turk." Gunna flopped on the couch and turned on the TV.
"All right, that's a bet, bro. Thanks for everything, too."
"Without a doubt."
Lamar grabbed the car keys and cell phone before walking out of the door. With his manly loins churning for satisfaction, it wasn't long before he pulled up to his girlfriend's house. He parked ready to see her and get his nuts out of the street, calling her as he quickly made his way to the front door.
He heard her angelic voice, and said, "Yo, come to the door, dust bunny." He chuckled.
"Maybe I don't want to," Nikia responded, smiling as she played hard to get.
"You better come open the door before I get back in the car and leave," Lamar said.
He imagined Nikia slamming the phone down and hopping out of the bed. He knew that she was probably playing mad and as if she was asleep.
He was right.
When she saw the love of her life for the first time in months, her demeanor softened. Lamar had lost his visiting privileges a year earlier, and Nikia had suffered.
Damn, she mumbled, realizing that Lamar had heard her. She watched him smile. Standing in the doorway biting on her bottom lip, she was becoming aroused. Lamar's short, stocky frame always made her pussy wet. With the extra muscles he added on while incarcerated, though, her attraction to him increased.
Lamar stood on the porch with his eyes locked onto hers. They held hers in a trance. The street lamp provided perfect lighting to his complexion and the neatness of his shoulder length dreadlocks. His body was covered in tattoos from his face to his feet, wearing the words NOT GUILTY tattooed over his eyebrows.
"Damn, wassup, dust bunny? You gonna let me in or what?" Lamar asked, licking his bottom lip. Pure seduction.
"Yeah, come in, damn, you get on my nerves," Nikia replied, realizing how badly he aroused her.
"Ain't nothing I can't fix." Lamar gave her a confident glare. "I bought you something. Here." He handed over a pink Victoria's Secret bag.
"So, you think you can disappoint me, buy me gifts, and everything is everything?"
"Naw, but I know I can give you some of this dick and make you forget everything," he replied with the confidence that true alpha-males possessed. He spun Nikia around, hugged her from behind, and made their way inside.
The modest home was charming and much better than their projects digs, although they were still close to it. The house was an exact replica of the others on the block. Tight and tastefully decorated, the living room contained an overstuffed faux-leather sofa and two side chairs upholstered in a floral print, one with a matching ottoman. Cotton throw pillows were thrown here and there, and a crystal vase with faux flowers sat on one of the end tables. Although the spacious duplex was nicely decorated, Lamar felt an overwhelming sense of despair.
They were met by Nikia's mother, seated on the sofa in her house robe. She watched her favorite reality TV show while devouring a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips. He interrupted her me time by kneeling down and giving her a firm hug.
"What's up, mom?" he asked, smiling.
"Oh, God, they done let out the Grim Reaper." She laughed.
All three of them did.
Lamar's mother and father were abusive to one another, and he lost both of them when he was five-years-old; his mother choked to death by his father, and a week later, his father was murdered by drug dealers that he owed money. Tragedy forced Lamar into boarding school until he was twelve. Tired of being picked on by the other children for wearing tattered clothing, Lamar ran away and moved in with Gunna and his mother for a while. At sixteen, he moved in with Nikia and her mother and been with them since.
"Yeah, mom, they let this creep out earlier," Nikia said, "and he better stay out."
"Uh huh. I see you done got all muscular. I hope you gon' leave them guns and them fools alone."
He nodded. That wasn't happening. Ten-million.
She continued. "You'll be twenty-one in a few months. I don't want to hear about you getting locked up again. That'll break my heart." Nikia's mother had a firm spirit and didn't bite her tongue. Although she was a professional woman, she used to be a firecracker.
"Yeah, I know," Lamar replied as sincerely as he could.
He wanted the lecture to end so that he could get upstairs to Nikia to put her flame out. She had awaited this day as much as he had because she was a rider by doing any and everything that he needed and wanted to be done. She exposed her loyalty by assuring him that he could count on her at any time. Nikia loved everything about him. From his walk to the name he had made for himself in Bartram Village and the surrounding streets. His tattoos to the clothes he wore. Just the way he rocked his shirt unbuttoned, his V-neck T-shirt underneath, his fitted hat tilted to the back of his head, and usually a big gun on his hip. It all turned her on immensely. Although she would never tell him how much she liked his hardcore ways, she could not deny how much she loved his swag.
Lamar opened the bedroom door, strolled in, and found Nikia on her bed reading a piece of mail.
"Baby, wassup?" he asked, falling down on the bed beside her.
Nikia twirled her long, silky, black hair around a high-yellow finger. In heels, Nikia stood five-feet-six, and she could look right into his eyes. He liked that, but her height was incidental to her overall appeal. Her dark eyes danced with sincerity, a sharp compliment to her fair skin. Nice lips, he thought, and full.
She looked up at Lamar, and said, "I'm just reading a piece of mail from my dad."
"Your daddy right here," he said with a frown on his face. "I know you ain't trying to play me throwing no other man in my face?"
"Hell no. My real dad."
"Huh?" he asked, furrowing his brows. "I thought your mom always told you that he was dead?" He was puzzled.
"Calm down. She did, but, she lied to me. He's been in jail for a murder from before I was born," she said forlornly, looking at the floor. "My mom hated him so much that she lied to me and everyone. He had one of his sisters track me down. She found me at my school and gave me a letter from him and an old picture of him rubbing my mom's belly with me inside." She looked up and tears ran down her face.
He pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly. "Damn, baby." He had no idea how to console anyone. "It's going to be aight. You go to school?"
"Yes, I enrolled into Temple U. Since, I couldn't visit you, I needed something to do. I missed you so much, Lamar. Soon, I may have two strong men in my life. I really hope that he makes parole and come home one day soon." Her voice was full of optimism as he stared at a Polaroid photo of her father taken when she was still in her mother's womb.
"That's ya pop, right there?" Lamar asked, pointing at the picture.
"Let me see." He grabbed the photo and put it next to Nikia's face. She began to wipe her tears away.
"Oh, so this is where you get that big ass head and light skin from." Lamar joked in an attempt to lift her spirits.
He said, "Don't trip, boo. That parole shit just takes a minute. He'll be home, though."
She was smiling. "I sure do hope so. Its been two whole decades since he's been away."
Excerpted from "Project Terror"
Copyright © 2017 Jamal Lewis.
Excerpted by permission of Prodigy Gold Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm sorry, but I could not get into this book. I think it was the editing, I don't know. I tried for two days, because I really wanted to give it chance, but I just couldn't get into it. The story itself was okay. It could have been more of a smooth read. I would use a different editor next time. I am a avid reader, and I was hoping to get a big bang out of reading this story. Anyway, Mr. Lewis, get yourself another editor. And I am wondering why I was having such a hard time adding a pen name. Barnes and noble need to work on that.