Georgia Barrett is a tough-as-nails television reporter for Chicago’s fictitious Channel 8. She’s a gritty, savvy sister who has everything going for her, including a great job and a fantastic guy. What she doesn’t need is to be held up in a bank by the next crazed Unabomber and become front page news.
Video Cowboys is Yolanda Joe’s third installment in her mystery series written under the pen name Ardella Garland (Details at Ten and Hit Time) and is another exciting page-turner. The novel is once again set in downtown Chicago and features returning and likable characters. Having been a former news writer for CBS News and WGN Television, Joe knows her stuff.
This time around, Georgia and her partner-in-crime, Zeke the cameraman, are driving through Chicago when Georgia asks him to stop her off at the Lake Michigan Bank before returning to work. Zeke kindly obliges but doesn’t know what he is getting into. Neither does Georgia, who just wants to make a quick withdrawal. Afraid his equipment will get stolen from the van, Zeke brings along his camera. Once Georgia and Zeke are inside the bank, they find themselves held hostage by an average-looking man with a bomb hidden in a red sack.
Though Georgia and the hostages try to remain calm, the bomber - named Brett - wants Georgia’s assistance. Brett’s daughter Mandy has been kidnapped, and if she isn’t returned safely, he will blow up the bank. Brett, with Georgia and Zeke’s help, goes live on the air demanding the police help him find his daughter. In exchange for Georgia to investigate the crime, she is allowed to leave the scene on one condition…leave Zeke behind. Afraid for the hostages and her buddy Zeke, Georgia enlists the help of a crew of cameramen, to which Zeke belongs, called the Video Cowboys. Georgia and company go on a wild ride to help find Mandy’s captors and bring her back into the arms of a father who would do anything for his daughter.
Yolanda Joe’s Video Cowboys is on-the-edge-of-your-seat excitement. Having never read the previous novels, I will more than likely go back to read Details at Ten and Hit Time. My only complaint is that Joe may want to lay off on the use of CAPS. She can certainly make her words exciting by using another method to express her point. Video Cowboys is well-written and a good mystery. Kudos go to another great African-American writer in the mystery field!