A Moment of Silence: Midnight III (The Midnight Series)

By Sister Souljah

(Atria/Emily Bestler Books, $27.99, 544 pages)

Who is this author?

Sister Souljah, whose real name is Lisa Williamson, was born in 1964 in the Bronx. She graduated from Rutgers University with a dual major in American History and African Studies and achieved fame and notoriety as a political activist and teacher for disadvantaged urban youth, as a rapper and author, and during the 1992 presidential campaign, as someone Bill Clinton repudiated for her inflammatory statements about race relations – a risky move for a Democrat that became known as a “Sister Souljah moment.” Her debut book, in 1995, was the autobiography No Disrespect, and she went on to write bestselling novels beginning in 1999, including The Coldest Winter Ever, Midnight: A Gangster Love Story (an instant bestseller), Midnight and the Meaning of Love and  A Deeper Love Inside: the Porsche Santiaga Story. A Moment of Silence is the third in her Midnight series. She also has contributed to Essence and The New Yorker.

What is this book about?

He is a young, compelling Muslim man, but Midnight has challenges, among them being the husband of two wives who live with him, his mother Umma and sister Naja in New York. That seems difficult enough, but Midnight also must contend with living among people who do not follow his faith or understand it and adults who resent his intelligence and ability to make money. Although his trademark cool personality and Ninja training serve him well, he succumbs to an outburst of rage while defending his sister that upends his life and throws him into dangerous contact with the drug trade, bad cops and worse gangs and a crooked money laundering ring that offers him desperately needed shelter. The story asks if Midnight can keep his faith, defend his manhood and overcome envy, hate and the pull of the streets to survive, thrive and receive justice.

Why you’ll like it:

As an author, Sister Souljah has a raw and powerful voice, radical and outspoken beliefs and a very passionate fan base. A spokesman for the Hartford Public Library says that her books are among the most frequently checked out in their entire collection. She will visit the downtown library, 500 Main St., Hartford, on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 1 p.m. to give a free talk about her life and books. For more information, go to www.hplct.org.

What others are saying:

www.blackpageturners.com says: “In her next heart-pounding novel of passion, danger, temptation, and adventure, New York Times bestselling author Sister Souljah returns to the story of Midnight, a young man searching for love and fulfillment across the globe. Having returned from a worldwide journey to reclaim his wife, Akemi, Midnight returns to Queens, where he hopes to create a new, less tumultuous life with his love. But things fall apart when violence targets his younger sister Naja. Forsaking his usual control, the ninja warrior kills his sister’s attacker in cold blood, forcing him on the run and into the only shelter he can find: a seedy money laundering ring whose members are in league with the police. Though Midnight is promised temporary refuge, he’s soon recognized for the murder of Naja’s attacker, and lands in jail. Separated from his love, his city, and his family, Midnight must cling to his Muslim beliefs to stay strong. But soon enough, he meets Ricky Santiaga, the man who will become his leader and father figure…and perhaps, his only hope. From Japan to New York City, Midnight is back in action on the mean city streets and ready to fight for love. Here is a powerful new novel that packs more passion, plot, and emotional punch . . . Sister Souljah’s most masterful story yet.”

Library Journal says:  Sister continues her in-depth character examination of Midnight, the mysterious enforcer for drug kingpin Ricky Santiaga and the unrequited love of Ricky’s wild daughter, Winter. In this lengthy tale set in 1986 and before Midnight crosses paths with Winter, there are sudden shifts in time and place designed to reveal Midnight’s emotional core. Midnight prefers to remain silent in all situations but is an honorable and devout Muslim. Although only 17, he has married two women and is a loving husband to both of them. Readers may be taken back by Midnight’s precocious maturity especially when he’s speaking about his life philosophy. “How each man responds to evil options and suggestions is the only way for you to determine if he is a good man. He may be good. But no man is innocent.” VERDICT Undoubtedly Midnight is one of the more intriguing characters found in urban fiction. Yet too often the author sacrifices her plot by digressions into extensive messages/editorials about Muslim beliefs, how women should always be respected, and the ignorance of police. The slow-developing story finally accelerates when Midnight meets Ricky Santiaga and then is sent to Rikers prison. Sister Souljah’s many fans will want this.”

When is it available?

A Moment of Silence is expected to be on the shelves of the Downtown Hartford Public Library and all its branches by Nov. 12 or shortly thereafter.

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