Rose of the Badlands (Sweets Maybrey) by Barry C. Davis
Philly crime boss Sweets Maybrey has a body in his trunk and a weapon underneath his seat. He travels in a stolen car to a destination in the Poconos Mountains called Deer Lake. The destination has meaning to him, less so for his 'passenger'. It is a crossroads, a place where he plans to literally bury the past and begin anew. Unfortunately he has a 'tail', a state trooper very interested in a black man travelling in this whitest of places in the early morning hours. Sweets will have to confront him before he can complete his journey, but Sweets, by now, is used to fighting for what he wants and he knows the trooper will not stop him from completing his destiny.
Thus opens the novel Rose of the Badlands, the third novel in the Sweets Maybrey crime series. While considering how to rid himself of the trooper Sweets remembers the tumultuous events of the past year. The disastrous fight with a no talent bum named Bobby Turner that ends with Bobby in a coma and Sweets, guilty for the illegal blow that devastated his opponent, on the hook to help find the man's missing sister, Rose. Turns out Rose is no saint, hooking and stripping her way through the Badlands, Philly's most notorious urban jungle. As Sweets' quest for Rose intensifies, his organization is being threatened by the Marks Brothers, a crew with a silly name but serious intentions and strong connections to The Commission, the head of organized crime in America. Soon, Sweets has no organization and no purpose. He forgets about Rose - he is broken, depressed, lost, and for the first time in his life, scared. The former boss hides in his condo, too afraid to leave. Two unlikely women rescue him – one elderly and white, the other a black wild child not unlike how Sweets used to be. With their help Sweets slowly recovers, determined to regain his self respect and what he used to have. He makes war on the Marks Brothers but the key to making himself whole, he realizes, is to discover what happened to Rose, fulfilling that promise made long ago.
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