When her son is in trouble, a heartbroken mother finds the courage and faith to save him, in ReShonda Tate Billingsley’s powerful family drama—a novel as timely as today’s headlines.
The breaking TV news rocks Jasper, Texas, to the core: a white police officer is fatally shot in a scuffle with three black youths—and a cellphone video captures Jamal Jones, the sixteen-year-old son of esteemed Reverend Elton Jones, escalating the tragic encounter. Now, as the national spotlight shines on a town already rife with racial tension, Jamal is a murder suspect on the run. And all of Jasper—even the Reverend’s congregation—rushes to judge the boy they thought they knew.
But Gloria Jones knows her son best, and she races to find Jamal before the law does—to the outrage of her workaholic husband. Once she finds him, she has to decide whether to turn him in or help him run. With ruthless prosecutor and Houston mayoral candidate Kay Christensen hungering to put another young thug behind bars, Gloria will face her biggest battle yet. And when long-hidden secrets and shocking lies come to light, throwing Jamal’s case and his destiny into a tailspin, all Gloria can do is pray that the truth—and a mother’s unconditional love—will be enough to redeem the mistakes of the past and ultimately, save her son.
What it meant to have the Grim Reaper sneak up on you, wrap his claws around your heart, and squeeze. That’s what Gloria Jones felt right now. Her heart tightened, her breath slowed, and Gloria wondered how it was that she hadn’t passed out. All because of the story that she’d just seen on the news. “Again, we want to warn you that this video is disturbing,” the red-haired female anchor from Channel 12 News said. “Police have released this footage in hopes that someone can identify the suspect or the other two boys in the video.” The video that had initially stopped Gloria in her tracks during the news introduction began playing again. “Put the phone down!” a police officer in the video yelled. “I have a right to film,” the young boy replied as he turned the camera on himself. It was dark and the picture was grainy, but he was clearly recognizable. And even if he wasn’t, the tiny cross tattoo on his neck was a dead giveaway. “You see how they treat us?” he continued. “If you’re young and black in America, you’re guilty until proven innocent!”
Q. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE IN ONLY 8 WORDS?
A. Blessed and Living my life like its golden!
Q. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO OR MAXIM?
A. Don’t let anyone but you determine your destiny!
Q. WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST FEAR?
A. That I didn’t try. And snakes.
Q. IF YOU COULD BE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, WHERE WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE?
A. Right where I am.
ReShonda is the national bestselling author of 30 books. Her sophomore novel, Let the Church Say Amen, has been made into a movie, directed by actress Regina King and produced by Queen Latifah’s Flava Unit Queen Latifah’s Flava Unit, Royal Ties Productions and Bobcatt Films. The movie is slated to air on BET in August 2015. (ReShonda, who served as a consultant, makes a cameo in the movie). The Devil is a Lie and The Secret She Kept will be original movies on TV One in Fall 2016.
A much sought-after public speaker, ReShonda recently won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature for her book Say Amen, Again and was nominated again in 2013 for her book The Secret She Kept. She has won numerous awards for her journalism, fiction and poetry writing skills. She is a five-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists Spirit in the Words competition. Considered one of the top Inspirational Fiction authors in the country, her books remain a staple on the Bestseller’s list and have been featured in USA Today and Ebony Magazine as Summer Sizzlers. She was recently inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.
On February 3, 2014, ReShonda Tate Billingsley along with National Best Selling author, Victoria Christopher Murray launched Brown Girls Publishing, their new boutique publishing company. Visit www.browngirlspublishing.com.