As a personal preference, I don’t usually start a series that is new to me with the latest novel. Doing so can often reveal details that make it impossible to read the earlier books in the series and one isn’t able to evaluate story arcs that cross through the series. However, in this case, I made an exception because PJ Nunn, the publicist for the author, asked me to despite knowing well how I feel on the issue. I’m glad she did because this is a very good book.

You Should Have Died On Monday

Frankie Y. Bailey

Overmountain Press

July 2007

ISBN # 978-157072-319-3


218 Pages

Professor Lizabeth Stuart finds herself in this fourth novel of the series professionally successful and yet full of deep conflict. About to embark in a new position at the university in Gallagher, Virginia and deeply in love with, Quinn her boyfriend and Chief of Police of Piedmont State University, everything should be just about perfect. But, “Lizzie” has a health issue to deal with as well as her legacy and isn’t able to move forward until she resolves issues in her past.

Lizzie never knew her mother having been raised by her grandparents. Now, as she approaches forty and is contemplating what it would be like to be a mother herself, she has a need to know why her own mother, whom she knows as Becca, abandoned her all those years ago. Her recently departed grandmother took secrets to the grave with her and if she can find her mother and talk to her she could learn a lot including the name of her biological father.

The search won’t be easy because the trail vanishes after she was at the scene of a multiple shooting in 1969 in Chicago. Becca, a blues singer, involved herself with gangland figures as well as African American radicals and was there at the scene of the shootings. What she did or encouraged to happen is at question. People died and she vanished, no doubt to reinvent herself elsewhere, but the question is where did she go and can Lizzie find her if she is still alive today. Once found, will she tell all or will she take her secrets with her leaving Lizzie with still more questions than answers. Thanks to Quinn’s contacts and the need by those still alive to meet the daughter of the beautiful and notorious Becca, before long Lizzie is on the ground in Chicago retracing her legacy every step of the way in a suspenseful trail that may ultimately uncover things she will wish she had never known.

The result is a rich read full of atmospheric details that engage the reader and pull one deep into the world of Lizzie Smart. The past as well as the present comes alive on every page making one feel like they are right there with her on her journey. A twisting, occasionally violent journey that constantly interjects history in small snippets into the tale as pieces of character development. In so doing, author Frankie Y. Bailey, currently a criminal justice professor at the University of Albany, shows a real story telling ability as she never slows down the pace of the novel. Back story and legacy are huge parts of the novel and both work well as do the other elements to provide an engaging moving tale sure to capture reader attention. A very good book that works well as an introduction to the series and will also work well for those already well aware of the good series and this clearly very talented author.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

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