African American Fiction

The Return of Sister Hattie Harris


This book will launch on Mar 12, 2021. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒

Worth reading 😎

The historical drama is a gift for crime, mystery or Black Culture fans who have the patience to excuse the way it is wrapped.

It’s a funny thing – some novels are read to escape. If readers give Juntu Ahjee’s, The Return of Sister Harris, a chance, their emotions will find the Segregation-era, crime drama inescapable. The narrative pace is often too slow; prose too spare, but the dialogue grips. Some readers might find the language vulgar. Nonetheless, the Seattle-based, award-winning, horror fiction writer and poet, is a keen storyteller with a firm grip on the realities of being Black in pre-Civil Rights America, and an ear for conversation that resonates the harsh environments that envelope the main character, Hattie Harris. That is what won me.

At first, readers who are sticklers for traditional narrative style will find the novel sort of flat. The author vapes the “show don’t tell” rule. He did the same in, The Legend of Hattie Harris, the first in the planned three-book series.

The narrative read like notes for an as yet unwritten novel or screenplay - heavy on summary:

Five years later, Hattie (now aged 30) and Sly Jr. (now aged 9) have settled into a small two bedroom house, roughly 20 miles outside from the Cuyahoga River in Summit County… It sets on 2 (sic) and a half acres, very secluded...Hattie enjoyed farming as it brought her back to her roots. She taught her son how to raise cattle and grow produce... Hattie just wants to raise her son in peace and leave all treacherous drama in the past.

I stuck with the story because of the dialogue:

Junior there’s a lot of things in this world that you have yet begun to understand. I’m still learning myself…. I done had a hard life. Don’t mean you gotta have one son…. Sometimes your enemies will not always wear white sheets, they can come in disguises of the same shade. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing!

Hunted by the Ku Klux Klan, sheriffs, federal agents, and the mob, from Chicago to rural Ohio, Hattie faces bigger perils with each chapter in her bid for redemption and rebirth. The saga will be a magnet for fans of crime, mystery or Black Culture. A third book, The Judgment of Sister Harris, will be released soon.  

Reviewed by

I am a retired professor of Creative Writing and Literary and Cultural Studies who for more than three decades has written reviews for newspapers, magazines and academic journals of many kinds of fiction and nonfiction. I now live, teach and write in Central Florida.

The Aftermath of a Warzone

About the author

Juntu Ahjee, originally from Oklahoma City, he began his journey in 1979 writing short horror stories. In 1988, he earned an Urban Spirit Award. In 1999, he relocated to Seattle, WA and embarked on music writing. In 2019, his poem, ‘81st Street’ won the 2019 National Poetry Award for Nubian Poets. view profile

Published on February 01, 2021

30000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Genre: African American Fiction

Reviewed by