Nichelle D. Tramble. The Dying Ground (2001) 323 pp. [tpo]
In Oakland, in the fall of 1989, the drug turf wars are intensifying
on the streets. Maceo Redfield, a talented baseball player who has lost
his scholarship from Cal, is trying to keep from being drawn into Oakland’s
drug underworld. That world reaches out and drags him in, however, when
he learns of the murder of one of his closest childhood friends, Billy
Crane, now a successful drug dealer. He is drawn in even further as he
searches for Billy’s girlfriend, Felicia (“Flea”)—Maceo’s true love. Flea
was in the car when Billy was shot and is suspected by his crew of setting
him up. Maceo is torn between his desires for Flea, his need to learn the
truth about Billy’s death, and his family’s attempts to keep him out trouble—they
want him to return to the family home in Louisiana until things cool off.
The search for Flea takes Maceo around the drug centers of the Bay Area,
down to southern California, Fresno, and back to Oakland, where Flea’s
family secrets threaten to change his world forever.