The Black Stiletto: Stars and Stripes-Raymond Benson

The Black Stiletto: Stars and Stripes
Raymond Benson
Oceanview, Apr 2 2013, $25.95
ISBN 9781608090723

Martin Talbot has read two of his mother Judy Cooper’s over five decades old diaries (see The Black Stiletto: Black and White), but struggles with who she insists she was. He cannot question her because Judy suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s, but as he begins her third journal, the depth of the entries affirms his mom was the vigilante superhero the Black Stiletto. Talbot wonders whether he should tell his new girlfriend at the same time his daughter Gina proves more a chip off Judy’s block than him as she lands in trouble.

In 1960 New York’s Chinatown, local ruthless Tong hoods kill the father of Judy’s friend teenager teen Billy Shen Lee. Idealist Judy volunteers as a “Kennedy Girl” to help the elect JFK presidential campaign. As the Black Stiletto dodges NYPD, she takes on the Tong and a Cuban-Soviet spy ring planning to assassinate JFK.

The third super Black Stiletto thriller is a great tale as 1960 (through the diary) comes across as if Judy wrote her entries at the end of the Eisenhower Administration. The present segues add depth as Martin struggles with his life (as his ex remarries) while admiring his mom’s daring deeds. However, this is clearly the Black Stiletto’s story with her journal providing an insightful look at racism in 1960 Manhattan and the effect of the Cold War in NYC and on the presidential race.

Harriet Klausner

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