What a Woman's Gotta Do
by Evelyn Coleman
(Simon and Schuster, $23.00, R) ISBN 0-684-83175-9
Ever have one of those days? Patricia Conley was getting married. She didn't give her love or trust easily. After spending her childhood in the foster care system, she was finally going to belong to someone. Her no-frills wedding to Kenneth Lawson was scheduled to take place in City Hall.

The always punctual groom was first overdue, then upgraded to no-show status. Registering yet another disappointment, Patricia heads for home. As she passes a restaurant, something or rather someone catches her eye. It's her fiancé sitting in the back in a dark corner holding hands with another woman! And he's got Patricia's car.

What's a woman to do?

"There is an old saying that if you love a man, let him go, and if he loves you, he'll come back to you. I say hunt him down and kill him."

When her fiancé turns up missing and the woman he was with is found dead, the police waste no time questioning Patricia.

What a Woman's Gotta Do is Evelyn Coleman's first adult novel. Coleman is the author of several award-winning children's books including White Socks Only, a thoughtful and entertaining book that deals with racism and segregation.

But What a Woman's Gotta Do is not child's play. Patricia doesn't have time to wax philosophical about love. Her motto is get mad and get even. In one scene, Patricia goes to the dojo to work out. She's in an all-male group and kicks some major butt when the men all begin to look like her absent fiancé!

What a Woman's Gotta Do is a fast-paced suspense novel in which the heroine uses her personal and professional cynicism and her street smarts to keep one step ahead of the bad guys. It is a wild story that involves white supremacists, genetic engineering, the ancient African culture of the Dogon people of Mali, monks, priests, the Center for Disease Control and the Anti-Defamation League.

There are so many twists in the plot, I can't accurately describe it without giving away vital information. Both Patricia and the reader learn to believe nothing and trust no one.

Patricia is a feisty, foul mouthed heroine, who often is warned by her male companions to watch her language. The book is liberally sprinkled with four-letter words and on several occasions, the big twelve-letter one surfaces. The R-rating is for the language content. The sexual content is PG.

There is a romance between Patricia and an ex-boyfriend, undercover cop Jeff Samuels, but it's not the main focus of the story. Afterall, it's summer. And, after a steady diet of full-bodied romances, I sometimes like to kick back, rest a bit and enjoy a little "romance lite" – a story that reads great with half the romance. I'm glad I found What a Woman's Gotta Do.

--Gwendolyn Osborne

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