Crossing The Lines By Richard Doster a Review By Author Fran Lewis

August 14, 2009 at 12:39 pm (Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Crossing the Line

Never judge a man by the color of his skin, the way he wears his hair or the clothes on his back, but by his soul. Words to live by as stated by the late Dr. Martin Luther King. We need to build an air of trust and understanding in order to live together. This brings me to my review of Crossing the Line by Richard Doster.




As the book opens we meet sports reporter Jack Hall who uproots his family and moves to Atlanta taking a job writing for the Atlanta Constitution and moves his family south. This is the first step to many life changing experiences and new friendships that would forever create a history of their own. Starting out as a sportswriter, the editor of his paper asks him to do a piece about an incident that happened in Montgomery, Alabama. Little does he know that this was not just any incident but one that would change the way people throughout the state of Alabama and the United States would view people of other races. Rosa Parks, a seamstress by one simple act, of refusing to give up her seat to a white person in the front of the bus, and sit in the back, started a chain of events that not only rocked Montgomery but the entire nation.  Jack Hall, asked by his boss, to go to Montgomery and meet with Martin King a young pastor, to find out more about what happened and to bring back a story.


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Taking that story and expanding it into more than just a newspaper piece was Jack Hall’s dream. Dalton Dorsey, another member of the Atlanta Constitution staff had the same dream. Together, they met with Martin King, the senior Martin Luther King and members of their churches and congregations and wrote an article so powerful and so compelling that Life Magazine printed it and the world learned of what was happening not only in Montgomery, Alabama but also to all people of other races in many walks of life.




As Jack Hall interviewed and met with Martin King I could hear his voice resonating in my head the words he spoke came to life. Rosa Parks helped start a movement so great that everyone respects and remembers the bus boycott and the impact it made not only in Montgomery but also everywhere in our country.




But, Jack Hall did not stop there. He had a vision just like Dr. King. With the aide of his new neighbors, who were predominantly white, and his friend Dalton Dorsey, they would create their own magazine with their own brand of journalism.




When Martin King met with Jack Hall when the courts decided in their favor, they both took a ride with many others in the buses for the first time and wherever they wanted. A great start but only the beginning for the people of Montgomery and the end of segregation. Not only would they eliminate it on buses but in the schools and other places too. One woman standing for her right to sit where she wanted, one day, December 5, 1955, and the entire world would see and hear what we should have known all along. Segregation is wrong.




But, the fight just started and more homes would be burned and more lives would be lost before this was over. From Little Rock Arkansas and the fight for integration in the schools, to the riots in the streets and the bombings of homes this book leads us through a difficult time for everyone. Change is hard and often comes at a price.




Martin Luther King Jr., Sam Phillips the founder and creator of Sam’s Records and the man who introduced us to the Blues, Rock n’ Roll and Elvis. The man who realized who Elvis really was and where he came from. This book Describes the day the first Negro students were supposed to come to Central High and start the process of integration. The nightmare when 17young children were supposed enter Little Rock Central High and the protests, angry mobs that and courts that would prevent them from getting what is so rightfully theirs: an education.




Jack Hall, Dalton Dorsey, Alan Emerson, Flannery O’Connor, Percy Sutton, Chris Hall and Ansley and so many others who believed in what Dr. King did and what Rosa Parks had started.




Three men-one-goal-one changes to create change: You can’t force people to change as the author states, you can only try to inspire it and they will love you forever. That is what Hall and Dorsey did to change the thinking of their wives, children and their community. What Sam Phillips did for music, what Harper Lee and Flannery O’Connor did for literature and so many more- makes us remember that this is America and we are all Americans and we did not get there by the color of our skin. Dr. King had a dream that all people of every race and creed would have the same freedoms and live together in peace. He believed in non-violence and reason. If we could translate his dreams and what Hall and Dorsey and so many more succeeded in doing to those in the countries that are presently at war and create a World of Beauty Magazine geared to showing how great this planet it, maybe they would appreciate the land where they live and embrace it, not destroy it.


Crossing the line opened the lines of communication and helped filter out misconceptions about people, and started a dialogue of hope and understanding between Blacks and Whites and all people. Although we are not completely there as we can tell by the situation throughout the world, perhaps in the future we will not have to deal with hate and hate crimes and we will learn tolerance and understanding try to embrace our differences and cultures.




This book should be on the shelf of every college, high school, elementary and public library. It should be the required reading of children in every school. I learned so much about what happened during a time that I grew up that I did not know about. I would highly recommend this book as a must read.

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The Mayor Wore Sapphires by Martha Tucker reviewed by Fran Lewis, Author

August 11, 2009 at 12:58 am (Crime Novels, mystery, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

9780977485215-1The Mayor Wore Sapphires By Martha Tucker


Reviewed by Fran Lewis



The nucleus of a cell is fragile and needs to be protected from harm. Like the yoke of an egg before the egg is cracked, the outer shell stays strong and protects the inner yoke from harm. Life has many fragile and delicate moments that need protection as the people do. Changes in our lives often bring resistance to that fragile outer shell of that egg or stretches that cell and its nucleus and the shape and form will no longer remain the same. But, when the changes that are needed to make that nucleus stronger and that shell harder to protect and create something better, there are those that will go to no lengths to make sure it happens.


Visions are more than what psychic sees when they give you a reading or tell the police of a government agency what they see in their minds in order to help solve a crime. Visions are often the long rage goals that you might have for a city’s growth, your own life to more ahead or for an entire community to flourish. It takes a person who believes in the extraordinary and does not sit back and settle for the usual to have strong visions, strong convictions and carry them out. Mel Tate was such a man. On September 9, 1981, Melvin Tate, the Californian Mayor of Compton was struck down by a bullet not only meant to kill him but his goals, values and ideals for his community. Black communities such as his were ridden with drive by shootings, drug wars, and little or no opportunity for jobs or expansion of their economy and little or no help to educate teens and young adults about life in general. Martha Tucker brings these issues and more to light in her groundbreaking first novel, The Mayor’s Wife Wore Sapphires.


When you take your visions and you stretch them to make that nucleus of that cell wider and the yoke of that egg stronger, you sometimes find a lot of resistance as did Indigo Tate did in this novel that makes a real statement about changing society and the way people think about each other and how we achieve our goals.


Although the time period might be the 80’s the message that the author is driving home is still prevalent and even more vital today. Our schools need to be improved, drugs need to be a thing of the past in our cities and states, corruption in government needs to be eliminated and guns need to be off the streets and not readily available. As our new President stated before he was elected, now is the time for change and it will take all of us to make sure that happens.


Mel Tate was a man with a vision for the people of Compton, California. He believed in change and he was a unique politician and wanted to create a special training program called World Hub for the people of his city. When he found out that millions of dollars that were appropriated for this project was missing, his goal to become his state’s Congressman were shattered. Deciding not to run and see his dream through, he tells his wife, that leaving their life outside of Compton was no longer an option. Convincing him to change his mind would have probably stopped the horrific chain of events that followed. All Indigo wanted was a better life and to leave Compton and live in Washington and help her husband create a better life for her and her family.


What did the City Planner, the Chief of Police, the District Attorney, the most powerful Congressman in the city and Councilman have in common, the belief that Melvin Tate’s way of thinking was not their way and he had to be stopped at any cost. Standing on the podium to unveil his new World Hub Project, Melvin Tate was gunned down in cold blood injuring his wife too. But, what was the real motive for this shooting? Who was the real target? That will require looking deeper into the nucleus of this fragile cell and the now broken shell of this fragile city whose outer shell was shattered when this powerful man was killed.


Martin Luther King believed in racial equality for everyone and that every person of every race should have the same opportunities in life. Indigo Tate believed in his vision and wanted the same for the people of Compton and she would go to undying lengths to complete what her husband had started and any cost.


There are many ways to increase the economy of a city. You can create jobs, opportunities for students to be able to attend college, and open doors to people who would ordinarily have nothing by helping to eliminate drugs, corruption, crime, drive by shootings and government conspiracies where you live. But, for those who hate change and feel the only way to increase and inflate the economy is to sell drugs to teens for profit, help a foreign country in its war by making sure they have the guns they need and using a city for South American Drug Lords to bring in their drugs and make a hefty profit, someone needs to stop them and someone tries.


Indigo Tate loses everything when her husband is killed. Her entire world comes falling down and she needs to rebuild not only her life but protect her children too. But, when you find out that there is no one you can trust except yourself and your own instincts, you really need the courage and fortitude not to break apart even further.



Watching her husband shot right in front of her and then getting shot herself, Indigo Tate was not going to let his murder go unsolved or the mystery behind why he was targeted go unpunished. But, how far will she have to get and at what expense. Proud of what her husband wanted to do for Compton by creating World Hub, which would not only bring jobs and business to her city, but would help bring technology, manufacturing, marketing, training and more in order to help change the lives of the people there for the better, she would do all she could to make his dream come true.


Indigo ‘s goal was to create rid her city of drugs, stop the drive by shootings of innocent children, help the homeless and raise the level of education for the children in the city in order to create not only a safer environment for the people, but to erase the barriers between Black and White too. What a great and wonderful objective and goal. But, there were those, close to her and to her late husband who pretended to support his ideals and her goal to follow through with his mission to end poverty and crime in her city through World. Hub.


Thinking that she would have the support of many of her husband’s backers and constituents she decides the only way to succeed is to become Mayor of Compton and continue his work. Never think the ordinary always go for the extraordinary is what her father told her growing up. Never settle for mediocre when you can be the best and never let them know you are afraid. Do not let anyone see the fear in your eyes and keep strong.


Indigo belonged to a group called the Diamonds. A group of Black woman who were the Who’s Who of Beverly Hills and were powerful not only in the decisions that would be made in her life but in the lives of others too. Dupree Pascal, her husband Congressman Frank Pascal would play an integral part in the events that would shatter her life and those of others too. Congressman Kahn, who wanted to be Mayor and hoped that she, would back him and his ideals for Compton. John Varner, the most sought after campaign manager in the country, wanted his piece of the pie too. Each having their own secrets to hide and each with his or her own agenda, no one wanting her to succeed.



World Hub would create a better life for everyone in Compton and would help educate young mothers in childcare. It would create jobs in manufacturing, commerce, technology, marketing and more. Eliminating drugs from the streets, getting rid of guns and lowering the crime rate this project would change the way people lived for the better. But, her so-called friends had other ideas and the people she thought closest to her and hoped to protect her did not.


As deadly as the war in Iraq and any World War, Indigo Tate launches one of her own against crime, corruption, hate, conspiracy and deceit at any cost. With no one to trust and everything to lose she works relentlessly to find out the killed her husband and why a young teenage drug seller was framed for his murder.


What happens  sends a message that is so powerful and so strong it keeps the reader transfixed until the very last word of this book that sends a strong message. The ending will send you wanting for me and leave you thinking: Can this really happen? Is the fight for justice and to keep our kids safe ever going to end? What does happen to the project that Indigo fought so hard to make happen and at what cost does she become Mayor of Compton and at whose expense besides her own? You need to read this first time novel by Martha Tucker who definitely has a voice that needs to be heard and a pen that has to write the next chapter for Indigo and the people of Compton. The story does not end on the last page and this reviewer wants to more.


I would definitely give this book FIVE PERFECTLY CUT BLUE SAPPHIRES placed in that circle and nucleus to make it stronger. The sapphire is the Stone of Destiny. The stone provides  and holds within its power mental clarity and perception and financial rewards. It symbolizes truth, sincerity and faithfulness  and all of the attributes of Indigo Tate. By wearing that stone around her neck it drew protection for her, increased her  wisdom and oversaw her destiny. It is truly the stone of prosperity and worthy of our Indigo Tate who brought that to Compton and more.

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