Ask a Bookseller: ‘The Black Queen’

Ask a Bookseller Podcast
MPR News

Sarah Dimaria of Cavalier House Books in Denham Spring, LA., loves a good thriller, and one of her favorite writers in the genre is Louisiana author Jumata Emill of Baton Rouge.

Emill is a journalist whose work covering crime led him to writing YA thrillers. His debut novel, “The Black Queen,” came out in paperback in January, and his second book, “Wander in the Dark,” was released this week.

The Black Queen
"The Black Queen" by Jumata Emill
Delacorte Press

In “The Black Queen,” the first Black homecoming queen elected at Lovett High is murdered on the night of her coronation. What follows, Dimaria said, is a heart-pounding, unputdownable thriller.

Told in the alternating perspectives of the murdered girl’s best friend and the white girl who feels she should have been queen, this tale of high school homecoming court politics dives into racism and corruption within the community.

Dimaria said she knows better than to get too attached to characters in a thriller — why risk it, when you don’t know whether they’ll make it through? — but Emill’s writing made her fall for them anyway.

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.