Casanegra follows the adventures of Tennyson Hardwick, a gorgeous, sexy actor and former gigolo, living on the fringes of the good life in Hollywood. This story, which chronicles the redemption of a prodigal son, combines the glamour of Hollywood with the seedy hopelessness of the inner city. In this hot and steamy mystery, Tennyson struggles to hang on to his acting career and redeem his sex-for-pay history, which estranged him from his family -- especially his father, a decorated LAPD captain who raised Tennyson to call him "sir." Now, in the wake of his father's sudden stroke, Tennyson has to save himself from taking the fall for the first murder of a female rapper. In the process he discovers his hidden talents -- the hard way.
Actor Underwood (Sex and the City, etc.) teams up with accomplished authors Due and Barnes to produce a seamlessly entertaining novel. Tennyson Hardwick--semisuccessful actor, ex-gigolo and incipient sleuth--has the mixed fortune to reconnect with rap superstar Afrodite, a former client, for a night of more than just sex. The next day, she's found dead in a plastic bag with a split skull, and he's a suspect. To clear his name, Hardwick draws on all of his considerable assets: good looks and charm, a $2.5 million house inherited from a devoted client, martial arts skills (Barnes's stock in trade) and connections on both sides of the law. The authors have mixed up a cocktail of exotic elements--the sex for pay industry, the grind and glitz of Hollywood and the rap biz, a smart leavening of black film history--and topped it with a double shot of brutal murder. Handsome Ten Hardwick has not only a great backstory but a very promising future.
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1 . Awesome!!
Posted February 27, 2009 by eReader , Washington, D.C.Good book, had some some moments where it was slow but very good read. I love Blair Underwood!!!
June 18, 2007
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Excerpt from Casanegra by Blair Underwood
Here's what you need to know: I hate lines. That's the only reason I stopped by Roscoe's that day. I would explain this to the guys from Robbery-Homicide, not that LAPD ever believes a word I say. But it's the truth.
Any other day, if I had swung by Roscoe's Chicken N' Waffles on Gower and Sunset, there would have been customers waiting in the plastic chairs lining the sidewalk, hoping for a table inside, out of the sun's reach. Me, I would have driven straight by. I love Roscoe's, but what did I just say? I hate lines. Lines are an occupational hazard for actors looking for work, so I seriously hate lines on my days off. Maybe it was because it was ten-forty-five on a Monday morning -- too late for breakfast and too early for lunch -- but the sidewalk outside Roscoe's was empty, so I pulled over to grab some food.
Chance. Happenstance. Karma. Whatever you call it, I walked in by accident.
As anybody in this town knows, some people give off a magnetic field. A few lucky ones have it naturally; and some, like me, have worked on it over time. A certain walk, the right clothes, a strategic combination of aloofness and familiarity. When I walk into a room, strangers' eyes fix on me like a calculus problem they can't solve: I know you from somewhere. You must be somebody, what's-his-name on TV, or Whozit, from that movie that just came out. Being noticed has always been an important part of my work -- hell, half the people in L.A. moved here hoping to refine the art of being noticed, with no cost too high. By now, it's second nature. Customers looked up from their plates and lowered their voices when I walked into Roscoe's.
Later, half a dozen people would describe me down to the shoes I was wearing: white suede Bruno Magli loafers. Bone-colored light ribbed sweater. White linen pants. Gucci shades. Any cop knows that if you ask six people for a description, you get six different stories. Not this time. One seventy-six-year-old grandmother at a table in the back had the nerve to tell the cops, "I don't think he was wearing anything under those tight white pants." I'm not lying. And she was right. They noticed me, down to religious preference.
But as I walked through the door of Roscoe's, I tripped over someone else's magnetic field. The air in that place was crackling, electrified. It made the hair on my neck and arms stand up. Remember that scene in Pulp Fiction when those two small-timers tried to hold up a diner, not knowing the customers included Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta, stone-cold killers there for a quick breakfast after blowing away three dumb-ass kids? Well, either somebody was about to hold up Roscoe's at gunpoint, or someone close to royalty was eating there. Had to be one or the other.
"Hey, Ten," Gabe said, nodding at me from behind the cash register.
"Everything cool, man?"
"Cool as a Monday's gonna be." Gabe looked busy, counting the dollar bills from his cash drawer with meaty fingers. Gabe was a short, fleshy brother with worried eyes and a low BS quotient. He wouldn't tolerate a holdup without showing something in his face, even if someone had a gun jammed in his back. I tilted my head to scan the tables to see whose magnetic field was trumping mine.
I didn't see Serena at first.
Although there were only six customers in the place and she was sitting alone at the corner table, she fooled my eyes and I looked right past her. All I'd seen was a petite, busty brown-skinned girl with a braided crimson weave and a baggy white track suit, like countless ghetto goddesses I pass every day. If someone had asked me at the time, I wouldn't have recalled her as all that attractive, much less someone I knew. It was her voice that gave her away, that raspy, spiced honey that would be unforgettable even if it wasn't one of the best-known voices in the world.