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The Bookworm: Stop in Your Tracks

“His Third Wife” by Grace Octavia
c.2013, Kensington Dafina $15.00 304 pages

Absolutely nobody can stop you. Oh, no! You’re too determined to be deterred from what you want. You’ve got plans, you’ve got might and you’ve got the guts to make it all happen.

If there’s somebody in your way, watch out! You’ll run them right over.

Then again, there are times when even the unstoppable is halted in its tracks. And in the new book, “His Third Wife” by Grace Octavia, the octagonal red sign is up ahead.

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Mama Fee was not letting her daughter go through her nuptials alone.

Somebody had to be there with Val, who looked tired – and that was no big surprise. Val was pregnant and the groom was reluctant because, yes, it was a shotgun wedding.

But that was what a girl got when she married Jamison Taylor, Atlanta’s handsome black mayor. That was what Val got when she became the mayor’s knocked-up stripper-cum-assistant-cum-second-wife.

Kerry Jackson, Jamison’s first wife, couldn’t get the taste of disgust out of her mouth. Jamison had a good future once, but he couldn’t seem to keep his pants on. His affair with some California woman ruined their marriage not long ago – and now he was with this uncouth Val person. Kerry didn’t want to admit that she still loved her ex-husband, but he obviously wasn’t using his brain.

That’s because Taylor’s brain was preoccupied.

For months, he’d been working on a scholarship idea with his friend, Ras – something that would give inner-city boys a chance at college. But then Ras was arrested and the charges didn’t make any sense. When Jamison tried to use his political power to straighten things out, he was warned by old colleagues and frat brothers that he’d best just keep his nose out of the problem.

But that was a problem, too: Jamison was getting pressure to act from all sides. Kerry kept telling him that Ras was his friend, to do the right thing. Val was pressing to be a proper wife and wanted him to be a proper husband. Even his mother was pushing him for one thing or another.

Jamison needed to be able to think about things. He needed room. He needed everyone to just stop.

I have to admit, I didn’t like this book much on its first few pages. It starts out rather abruptly, but I stuck with it – and I’m glad I did.

“His Third Wife” starts off with a “body falling from a mid-level hotel,” and it screams, quick-paced, from there. Author Grace Octavia takes her readers into corners where we don’t expect to go, leading us into tunnels with endings that surprise, and prodding us down a blind ramp. Then the biggest scream of all is ours at the end.

Yes, this book concludes with one magnificent cliff-hanger. Dang.

This is the second book in a miniseries, but you can read it alone. Just beware of two things: one, you’ll be scrambling for the first book anyhow. And two, start “His Third Wife,” and you won’t be able to stop.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books. Her self-syndicated book reviews appear in more than 260 newspapers.

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