Saturday, July 16, 2011

Book Review - Crack Volume 1 by Shaka - July 16, 2011

Crack: Volume 1
Crack Volume 1 by Shaka
Kindle Edition
Published April 10th 2011 by Drop a Gem Publishing, LLC
(book 2 of 13 - 3rd Quarter 2K11 Reading/Reviewing Challenge)

About the Book:
Crack: Volume 1 follows lead homicide detective Devon Jensen through the grimy streets of Detroit s underworld. Fresh from a stint down in Atlanta, Detective Jensen returns home only to be hurled into a world of chaos when he is forced to solve the murder of a childhood friend. As the body count increases, and the bullets begin to fly in his direction, Detective Jensen begins to realize that he may be in way over his head. As he investigates the link between his childhood friend, who was the Vice President of a Mercedes Benz dealership, and two rival drug families, he finds himself fighting to save his own life and the life of the woman he has grown to love.

The leader of a family trio of dealers, Damu is a ruthless dealer who will stop at nothing to take over the streets of Detroit. His nemesis, Dominguez Santiago, is a cold-hearted killer who refuses to rest until his brother s murderer is identified and executed.

The closer Detective Jensen gets to the link between his childhood friend and the possible killers, the deadlier the game becomes. When the smoke clears, Detective Jensen and the rival drug families are all in for a shock when they find out the identity of the person responsible for the relentless assault on drug dealers across the city.

Crack: Volume 1 is a fast-paced trip through the ultra violent inner-city drug trade where pipe dreams go up in smoke.

About the Author:

Shaka is a man with purpose. Locked up for more than eighteen years, he has used his incarceration as a vehicle for change. Through years of study and self-reflection, he has transformed himself from an uncaring “thug” into a principled, progressive man who refuses to allow his circumstances to define who he is or what he’s capable of. Once a very angry, bitter young man, it was books that saved him from self-destructing and allowed him to see beyond the barbed-wire fences that held him captive. In an environment where hopelessness and despair grow like weeds, writing became his refuge. Eventually, he began writing creatively, tapping into the growing interest in street/hip hop literature. The author of six books and countless articles and short stories, he is inspired by revolutionary prison writers like George Jackson, Malcolm X and Donald Goines. Unlike other street lit authors, Shaka doesn't celebrate the violence and desperation in our community; he raises critical questions about the state of Black America in his writing. You can purchase a copy of his first published book, "Crack Volume 1," at

My Review:

Detective Devon Jenson returns to his hometown of Detroit only to find out that the people that he grew up with have changed. He has made his life better by trying to uphold the law. People are getting murdered over drugs. They aren't just any people, but they are his old friends. He is making it his business to find out who is doing the killing. He gets so involved in the case, that he will doanything it takes to bring justice to the City of Detroit.

"At one time, Detroit held the promise of becoming the model for middle class integration, until the arrival of the crack cocaine epidemic that started in late 1985. The dream of middle class prosperity faded along with the city's few white citizens who realized that crime and crack were there to stay" (location 221 on Kindle)

Dr. Brooks comes into the picture. She knows that black men turn to the streets because of they way they are brought up. They grow up in homes were they are abused and where life on the streets is the only option. Even though they are forced into the streets, she can't understand why her people can't just get along. Why do they always have to fight? The violence became personal to her in his story.

Damu was in the Marine Corps. He did everything he could to help his family by sending them money. When he got out, he never wanted his brothers Darren and Ricardo to be without whatever they needed. He also talked about the strength of Piranhas and the pride of the lions. That added a very interesting touch to the story! Here is part of a quote from Damu:

"This country was founded on the backs of two of the greatest crimes known to humanity -- the robbery and genocide of the Native Americans and the kidnapping and enslavement of Africans. Damn near all of the so-called founding fathers took part in this historical crime yet they are celebrated every year during the holidays and in history class..." (location 528 in Kindle)

There was also a reference to dogs called Presa Canarios. I've never heard of this type of dog, so I had to look them up! Here is what they look like:
(source of picture:

I am from Michigan, so I was very glad to read a book by a Michigan author! Shaka shows you what life on the streets is like. He doesn't glorify it at all. He is sending a message. Yes, dealing Crack is one way to attain money, but is the expense of losing your family worth the risk? What is more important--money or life?

I could see this book being made into a movie. I think it would be especially good to show young people how life on the street can really mess up your life. The flipping between past and present confused me a little at first, but I didn't find it hard to switch my thinking back and forth.

Crack Volume 1 really gripped me from beginning to end. I felt like I really got to know the characters.  The descriptions were very vivid and made me feel like I was right there in the story.  Shaka's writing is amazing, and I look forward to reading Crack Volume 2! I highly recommend that you read his books!
I found out about this book from my friend Orsayor.  Her blog is at

My Rating
5/5 Diamonds - Highly Recommend!

Disclaimer:  My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist. They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.

You can purchase the book at:

Upcoming Booksignings:

If I have by any chance inspired you to buy this book, please visit the author on his facebook page and let him know. He is having a contest and I would appreciate it! Here is the link:

I will be interviewing Shaka in the near future, so make sure to stop back and check that out!

© 2011, Cheryl of Black Diamond’s Book Reviews. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than blackdiamondsbookrev.fatcow.comUrban Image Magazine, or Cheryl’s feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

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