Prudence Couldn’t Swim
In the ’70s, political activist James Kilgore, wanted on federal explosives charges, hid from the law in a house near Sacramento’s Southside Park. Later, he fled to southern Africa where he was eventually apprehended and extradited to the United States. Kilgore spent six-and-half years in a California prison where he taught himself to write fiction. Prudence Couldn’t Swim (PM Press, $14.95) is a hard-boiled crime novel about what happens after a white ex-convict finds the body of his black wife floating in their swimming pool. Set in the hills and flatlands of Oakland, California, as well as urban and rural Zimbabwe, fear, greed and lust propel the characters. So does the global economy that forces people to migrate to earn income. Kilgore has an ear for dialogue, an eye for detail and a heart for the exploited.