A Review of Strangers in the Streets by Mitch Credle

December 29, 2011 

DC Homicide Detective Mitch Credle’s novel Strangers in the Street is one gritty real read, a journey into reality chocked with thugs, gangsters and rogue cops. From boys to men we follow Smokey and Black, a.k.a. Daniel Slade and Ricky Walker, one thoughtful and deliberative, the other impetuous and reckless. They bond as adolescents growing up in the rough section of Clifton Terrace spending their days hanging out, selling drugs, and committing street robberies. A crap game takes a turn for the worse and gunplay decides their future. Black takes a murder rap for Smokey and serves a juvenile life sentence. While Black is locked up until he’s twenty one, Smokey moves to the suburbs growing up in a relatively charmed existence. One becomes a hardened killer, the other a cop and years later their paths reunite and reignites their tender mutual affection. Theirs is a friendship illustrating how our past forever remains with us as constant as the loves of our lives.

Credle takes the writer’s adage “write what you know” to heart, leading the reader on a journey into the heads and hearts of vulnerable young men born into an environment where they are groomed and nurtured in the street life. Love plays a pivotal role and a redeeming force in both their lives. A determined father succeeds in removing Smokey from the ghetto life while Black hardened by time served returns to his uncle’s drug dealing enterprise. He resumes the street life killing and robbing until he falls in love with April, a good woman. Love gives Black’s life purpose but at this point it’s too late. The master of his fate not even April’s nor Smokey’s brotherly love can save him.

Strangers in the Streets
is a good read despite eschewing the standard dialog format it nevertheless flows. Few writers are able to capture the depth, breadth and reality of street life as experienced by the young African American male with its distinct language and code of conduct. Mitch Credle does it well because he’s been there growing up on the streets of D.C. and rising up to a Homicide Detective with the Metropolitan Police Department.

Strangers in the Streets is a suspenseful read with actual empathy for the villain Ricky Walker otherwise known as Black. The book leaves the reader a sense of hope. Indeed, there is hope for the young men imprisoned and those queuing up to take their place. That hope can only be manifested by changing the environmental forces that shape their lives.

It is said, men are the products of their environments, some rise above it, many do not. It’s certain by changing their bleak environment we can raise the hopes of many.

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