Ghett-Dough Cities: C Manor
by Traci Allen
Trafford Publishing

"As we exited the building we could smell all kinds of aromas in the evening air. I looked up at the sky something that I did a lot to see if I could make out shapes in the clouds. There were no clouds to be seen only the smells of people cooking coming through. Pork bones boiling, Chicken frying, Beans cooking and Weed being smoked."

This is a story played out on city streets where impulse, easy pleasure and grim, irrevocable consequences hold sway. A "ghetto-vicious complex," Cleburne Manor, in Houston, Texas is the gravitational point around which a girl named Samantha maps her life. To give us an idea of that life, she recounts a night when she was a child and her addicted mother’s latest "trick" tried to rape her: She and her mother together stabbed and beat him until he left their apartment at a crawl. Unsupervised, Sam, her siblings, and friends "go shopping" by stealing clothes off clotheslines, make pocket money informing to the pimps about the "hoes," warn the "hoes" about dangerous men in the 'hood, and increasingly immerse themselves in the criminal street scene—the only home they know. Central to the story is Eddie, a wheeler-dealer, jailbird, and lover of many women. His relationship to Sam and her family, and his secret prayers and longings for a better future for his children, gradually coalesce though there is much violence, crime, and sex along the way, all highlighted by dialogue couched in vivid ghetto slang.

New author Traci Allen has created an emotive novel based on her love-hate relationship with the blighted neighborhood where she grew up. Though her inexperience as a writer shows at times, she also demonstrates a remarkable ability to paint multi-layered characters, giving even hardened criminals their moments of empathy. Colorful street talk adds an authentic savor, and the action never lags. Written by one who's "been there," Ghetto-Dough Cities: C Manor could have a strong trajectory as a coming-of-age saga set against a dramatic background.

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