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Down And Dirty: Another Landlord's Tale

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Gammy Singer

Harlem landlord Amos Brown is back in Singer's follow-up to A Landlord's Tale. It's Christmastime, 1980 and Brown is trying to protect his corner of Harlem while the crack epidemic takes hold an as-yet-unnamed disease cuts down the city's gay population … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Gammy Singer
Publisher: Kensington
1 review about Down And Dirty: Another Landlord's Tale

Let's Do it Again!

  • Mar 15, 2006
  • by
We met Amos Brown in A Landlord's Tale, Gammy Singer's debut. Now she is back on another roller coaster ride with the sequel in Down and Dirty. Some of the same players are back including his tenants, Wilbur, the drag queen, Winnie and Patty.

It is four years later, in the midst of the Christmas season of 1980 but the "Harlem Don", as he has come to be known, is not feeling very merry. He had purchased yet another brownstone that came stocked with a bunch of freeloader renters, thereby he finds himself reverting back to his old ways of gambling to make ends meet. This time of year brings up feelings of loneliness and he cannot help thinking of the one he let get away. Unable to make a commitment to happily every after, Catherine had broken things off but Amos now thinks he was a fool. As it turns out their paths cross again when Catherine's drug dealer/crime kingpin uncle Harry dies, leaving her the bulk of his "estate." But there are those who would like to get a hold of Harry's property. But Amos has bigger problems when his old friend and mentor, Deacon Steadwell is arrested for the murder of Dap Jones, a well-known thief and scoundrel. Amos' main focus now is to get Steadwell, himself a thief, out of this mess.

This is not an easy feat as Amos must battle Russian mobsters, venture into the underground world of the homeless culture and associate with an assortment of unsavory characters including prostitutes, card sharks and a slimy attorney. Singer wields her pen in this urban tale whipping out gritty action, laugh out loud characters and a landscape that is Harlem's own claim to fame. Her descriptions are colored with metaphors and similes that draw the reader into the action. "Raw sounds vomited from his mouth-his pain flowed like molten steel across the room and seared me deeply, charring my soul." (pg 155) Told in the first person voice of Amos, the author puts one in both the psyche and physical characteristics of the man and the social issues of early 1980s New York. The early days of AIDS, then called the Gay Men's Cancer, hits close to home as well as the drug culture. Amos loves his Harlem and he makes no excuses for its eccentricity, its multi-cultural cast of citizens and their way of life even as he contemplates leaving. This is urban fiction at its best and should not be missed. As the song of that era says, let's do it again.

Dera Williams
APOOO BookClub

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