cover image The Black Stiletto: Black and White: The Second Diary—1959

The Black Stiletto: Black and White: The Second Diary—1959

Raymond Benson. Oceanview (Midpoint, dist.), $25.95 (328p) ISBN 978-1-60809-041-9

Benson’s The Black Stiletto (2011) introduced masked crime fighter Judy Cooper, who fought crime, inflamed public imagination, and, like many vigilante heroes, got mixed reviews from law enforcement as she roamed 1958 New York City. In this cartoonish sequel set the next year, Judy takes on an established mob (Italian) and an emerging mob (Negro) with her fists, feet, and trademark stiletto while flirting with FBI agent John Richardson. In the present, Martin Talbot, Judy Cooper Talbot’s son, discovers his aged mother’s long-buried secrets as revealed in her diaries and an old 8-mm film. Tacking back and forth between the diaries and Talbot’s dilemma when someone else produces the same film, Benson crafts dual dramas. Stiletto’s girlish diary touches on cultural milestones while she strikes literal blows for the downtrodden. This lightweight entertainment will most likely to appeal to fans of comic book heroines. Agent: Peter Miller, Global Lion. (May)