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Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite
When Eric and Sara Doussaint attended a New Orleans Saints football game from the luxury of his father Senator Jack Doussaint's skybox, two black brothers were also in attendance. Wynton Ellery, a security guard at the Port of New Orleans, and his brother Raymond were excited to have tickets for the game. During halftime, these lives converged as the murder of three people took place. When the New Orleans police department investigated these crimes, several social justice issues emerged. In The Ray of Hope, author Janet Johnson Anderson weaves a complex cultural tale, highlighting racism, classism, the effects of Hurricane Katrina four years later, police department inner workings, and other topics.
A fascinating aspect of this book is the development of several characters, much deeper than most books of this genre. One example is Sara Doussaint, whose past experiences of pain and loss affect her current perspective and behaviors. Additionally, Wynton’s grief, which is related to two family members’ deaths from a horrific car accident, has strengthened his faith, and his loved ones are never far from his mind. At the same time, how Jamison and his police department navigate the political aspects of this case is another intriguing feature. Descriptions of New Orleans’s unique qualities are also compelling. Throughout the story, the messages of hope and strength of the human spirit prevail. While the story contains many interesting topics, skillful writing ties them together well. Author Janet Johnson Anderson has crafted an outstanding novel in The Ray of Hope. An excellent read!