Mysteries

Valerie Wilson Wesley wrote her first mystery, When Death Comes Stealing, in 1994. The book introduced readers to Tamara Hayle, a wise and witty African American single mom and ex-cop, who makes her living as a private investigator in Newark, New Jersey. When Death Comes Stealing was nominated for the Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America as Best First Private Eye Novel. Tamara has since appeared in seven other mysteries: Devil's Gonna Get Him (1995), Where Evil Sleeps (1996), No Hiding Place (1997), Easier to Kill (1998), The Devil Riding (2000), Dying in the Dark (2004) and Of Blood and Sorrow (2008).  Many of her books have been Blackboard bestsellers, and have been published in Germany, Great Britain, France, Germany and Poland.

 

Of_Blood

OF BLOOD AND SORROW

Tamara Hayle can't believe life is so good: the most powerful man in town has hired her agency, her new lover seems just about perfect, and her son, Jamal, is happily thriving. But as Tamara warily observes, "when things stir this easy, there's always something lumpy at the bottom of the pot." Enter Lila Love an acquaintance who attracts mayhem like an alley cat does fleas. Add sexy Basil Dupre bringing passion and chaos. Top it off with Jamal's witnessing a brutal killing that leaves him the prime suspect. And suddenly Tamara's safe little world has turned terrifying, brutal and murderous.

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dying_dark


DYING IN THE DARK

Tamara Hayle’s past has come back to haunt her–literally. She’s been plagued by terrifying dreams about Celia Jones, an old friend whose walk on the wild side led her to a horrible death. Celia’s teenage son, Cecil, begs Tamara to find his mother’s killer . . . only to end up dead himself, stabbed through the heart.

The search for Celia and her son’s killer pulls Tamara deep into her friend’s troubled love life, where everyone adored her but somebody held a murderous  grudge. There’s her bullying thug of an ex-husband; a handsome ex-lover who woos Tamara with charm and lies; and an angry, jealous woman who claims that Celia broke her heart. And those were just the obvious people with axes to grind.

 Despite her better judgment and the admonitions of the police department, Tamara refuses to back away from the mystery surrounding her old friend’s death and the tragedy that met her son. All clues lead to the past Tamara shared with Celia Jones, and Tamara fears that that past will threaten her own son. But she uncovers more than she bargained for – and unearths secrets someone would kill to keep in the shadows.

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Easier_to_Kill

EASIER TO KILL

P.I. Tamara Hayle and her latest client, popular radio personality Mandy Magic, share the same roots — both grew up in the hardscrabble projects on one of the meanest streets in Newark. But that's what brings her to Tamara Hayle. Mandy Magic knows that each act of vandalism and seemingly random murder brings the demons of her yesterdays closer — and each day that passes makes her easier to kill.

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No_Hiding_Place


NO HIDING PLACE

When Newark hoodlum Shawn Raymond is killed, his mother, Bessie, hard-earned money in hand, begs Tamara to look into the unsolved murder. According to Bessie, the cops just didn't give a damn, but Tamara is enough of a realist to know the sad truth that gangsters usually end up getting what they deserve. Yet she can also remember a time when Shawn Raymond was an innocent boy, loved and mentored by her dead brother, Johnny. She knows that the void left by Johnny's suicide may have contributed to the bad choices Shawn made. Tied to the Raymonds by grief and memory, Tamara finally agrees to take Shawn Raymond's case. But Tamara finds that the path to the killer leads not only through the city's mean streets and threatened middle class but into her personal life as well, in a terrible, shattering way. More blood will be spilled before Tamara learns her bitter lesson that when it comes to murder and the evil in people's hearts, there truly is no hiding place.

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Devil_Gonna


DEVIL'S GONNA GET HIM


Cop-turned-struggling private investigator, Tamara Hoyle is a hardworking woman, with bills to pay and a teenage son to raise. So when Lincoln Storey -- the richest, rudest black man in the county-offers her big bucks to dig up the dirt on his stepdaughter's lover, Tamara gladly agrees, even though said lover once broke her heart. But then Storey drops dead at his own fancy fundraiser -- right before Tamara's very eyes. And before she knows it, ties of loyalty and friendship have dragged her deep into a lethal world of treachery and dangerous ambitions, where everybody has a nasty little secret and is better off with Lincoln Storey dead.

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When_Death


WHEN DEATH COMES STEALING

Tamara Hayle, former cop turned PI, is a single mom trying to make it on her own on the mean streets of Newark. When her "dog" of an ex-husband, the father of her son, shows up like a bad penny, she can't turn down his plea for help. For no apparent reason, somebody is killing his sons, one by one, and the police are less than concerned about it: Black men killing one another, nobody seems to give a damn. It's up to Tamara to find the killer - before death comes stealing her only child. Valerie Wilson Wesley has created a smart, sexy, knowing heroine unlike any readers have met before. With wry humor and a keen sense of urban life, Wesley imbues Tamara Hayle with the true grit and feminine wiles that make her an enduring character, whom readers will love discovering, and whose next appearance they will eagerly await.

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critics_mysteries

When Death Comes Stealing

"An intriguing plot…enhanced by likeable characters and dialogue, reminiscent of Terry McMillan's, that is so realistic you can hear it in your head."
- USA Today

No Hiding Place

"Wesley portrays the gritty realities of life in an urban ghetto with the ring of authenticity, and there is not a shred of sentimentality in this story's satisfying solution. Women of color in contemporary mystery are rare, and good mysteries are had to find. This one scores on both counts."
- Booklist

"A wonderfully believable and independent sleuth who combines intellect and intuition, sexiness and self-control."
--The Denver Post

"Good as the construction of the story is, what may well linger with the reader is the incidental music--the tang of the speech, the sense of life observed or imagined as it is lived on the hard lower edge of a hard city."
-The Los Angeles Times Book Review

"An engaging heroine--smart, sexy, tough but tender."
- Houston Chronicle