Tamron Hall draws on the depth of her own experience as a broadcast journalist in As the Wicked Watch, in which a Black female reporter goes above and beyond the parameters of her job to help solve the gruesome murder of a Black teen in Chicago. Crime reporter Jordan Manning first covers the story of 15-year-old Masey James as a missing persons case--one that crawls under Jordan's skin, especially after her exclusive interview with Masey's mother. When Masey's body is eventually located in an abandoned playground, Jordan is the first on the scene: "I couldn't ignore what I recognized as a plea for help, for the police to care, for attention from the media, for answers."
Recognizing that her role in television gives her not only access, but the ability to put pressure on the people and groups that tend to ignore cases of missing--or murdered--Black girls, Jordan takes action: interviewing police leads, connecting with Masey's family, tracking down loose ends in Masey's case--and all in her signature stiletto heels. Throughout the case, Hall's experience in journalism is evident; Jordan's tracking of the clues makes for a compelling mystery, just as they offer a fascinating look behind the scenes of what it takes to get the perfect broadcast story--hours and hours of work often distilled down into minutes or seconds of television coverage. The first in a planned series featuring reporter Jordan Manning, As the Wicked Watch is a well-paced and thoughtful crime novel that probes questions of race, representation and community care. --Kerry McHugh, freelance writer