Seventeen-year-old Keisha is the beautiful, sheltered daughter of an activist pastor with a checkered past. Handsome, ambitious Jamal-a street-savvy crack dealer-is the son of North Philly's most notorious drug kingpin. A history of violence and betrayal lies between their fathers, who are now bitter enemies. After one of his church members is gunned down-with a bullet he is sure is meant for him-Pastor Anderson goes after Frank Nichols, determined to drive him from the neighborhood for good. There's just one problem: Keisha and Jamal are in love.
When the families face off on opposite sides of an anti-drug demonstration, a high-ranking police official is killed in the crossfire, and Jamal becomes the prime suspect in the murder. Keisha is left with a choice. Will she stay with her father, in the confines of the sheltered world she's known, or will she venture into the unknown in order to help Jamal clear his name? She chooses Jamal, and in a whirlwind flight across the seamy underside of Philadelphia, Keisha will risk everything for love. Even her life.
Philadelphia Weekly columnist Jones's lively second novel (after The Bridge) is a classic tale of a doomed relationship between bad boy Jamal Nichols, the son of a North Philadelphia drug lord, and a beautiful, restless preacher's daughter who is achingly "attracted to the dark side." When Keisha Anderson is nearly raped by an unknown assailant, her father, Rev. John Anderson, takes it upon himself to confront drug kingpin Frank Nichols. John and Frank grew up together, but there's bad blood between them. Years ago, John's drug-dealing father was mysteriously murdered, and Frank took over his business, betraying John, who has his own sins to atone for. A rally outside Frank's bar, led by angry Reverend John, quickly becomes a riot, and a rooftop sniper kills the police commissioner. Jamal, after being tentatively identified by police as the shooter, flees with lovestruck Keisha in tow, but the real murderer, ex-convict Ishmael Carter, is still on the loose. The law closes in and Reverend John's misdeeds catch up to him just as love-struck Jamal and Keisha sneak off to Jamaica. Will love really conquer all? While Jones's soap opera prose wallows in the shallow end of the melodramatic pool, his timeless story and some strong action sequences make this a quick, satisfying entertainment. Author tour. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.