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Black Stiletto Books In Order

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Publication Order of Black Stiletto Books

The Black Stiletto: The First Diary (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Black & White (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stars & Stripes (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Secrets & Lies (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Endings & Beginnings (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Black Stiletto is a series of thriller novels written by Raymond Benson. The books chronicle the adventures of Judy Cooper, a woman who ruled the 1950s and 60s as a masked vigilante called Black Stiletto.

+The Story

The Black Stiletto series has been described as a fresh and unexpected take on the superhero genre. The books have been praised for telling the stories of a strong female character living in harsh times without beating readers over the head with a strong feminist message.

‘The Black Stiletto’, the first book in the series, introduces readers to Martin Talbot. Talbot is a relatively ordinary gentleman struggling with anxiety. The mental illness has him worried, not only because of the effect it has begun to have on his life but also because of Judy Cooper.

Cooper is Talbot’s elderly mother and she is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. Talbot knows that such illnesses run in the family. If the grief of watching his mother waste away wasn’t enough, Talbot must also contend with fears of potentially suffering under the same sorts of ailments down the line.

Talbot’s life changes when he receives several volumes of her mother’s diaries. Judy Cooper entrusted the family lawyer with the task of delivering the diaries to her son if she died or grew incapacitated.

The lawyer in question chose to hold onto the diaries because he hoped Cooper would get better. Once it becomes clear that the elderly woman’s fate is sealed, he does his duty and delivers the diaries.

That one act upends Talbot’s entire life. He cracks the first volume open and learns that Judy Cooper was more than just another woman who made it through the discriminatory times of the 1950s and 60s.

She had taken upon herself the mantle of the Black Stiletto, an unidentified woman who hid behind a mask and fought everyone from communist spies to common crooks.

As Talbot peruses his mother’s diaries, the story of Judy Cooper unfolds. Talbot learns that his mother grew up in a poor family. And the abuse she suffered from her step-father was the least of the hardships that assaulted her.

She saw firsthand just how vile humanity could be. And it ignited in her a desire to protect the weak from their oppressors. Cooper found a teacher and learned martial arts.

She took to the streets and fell more times that she could count in her efforts to walk the vigilante path. And for every loss she suffered, Cooper rose up stronger, eventually staking her claim on the City of New York as its primary protector.

The Black Stiletto series is told from two perspectives. You have Judy Cooper whose life unfolds as Talbot reads her diaries. While her origins are insightful, her journey as a vigilante is even more compelling.

Raymond Benson puts Cooper at the very heart of the social, economic, and political issues of the 1950s and 1960s. He tackles everything from racism to war. And Cooper is always at the center of all the commotion.

For every foe she puts down, a new stronger threat emerges to oppose her. And it isn’t just the criminals and mobsters that make life difficult for the vigilante. Stiletto must also contend with the police whose determination to catch her and lock her away for her crimes is such that she is frequently tempted to give up the mask and live an ordinary life as Judy Cooper.

For all the righteous anger that drives her, Cooper is hardly perfect. She struggles with drinking and dating, not to mention balancing her vigilante activities with her normal responsibilities.

When Talbot isn’t reading his mother’s diaries, the story shifts into his perspective. Talbot struggles to come to terms with the notion that the unstoppable woman who took on the police and the mafia in the 50s and 60s is dying before his very eyes.

Talbot also fights to control his anxiety. His sections of the series have little to no action but Benson approaches them with such rapid pacing that they do not slow down the overall narrative of the book.

Talbot worries a lot about Judy Cooper’s granddaughter who has already begun showing signs of the same desire to fight injustice as her grandmother. Talbot must also deal with those enemies of Cooper who emerge at the present, putting Talbot in a position where he must risk everything to protect his family.

+The Author

Raymond Benson has written a lot of suspense. Though, most people know him for being the first American writer to be commissioned to write the James Bond novels. A New York Times bestselling author, Benson has contributed to the Tom Clancy Splinter Cell franchise.

Benson started out in the computer game designing business and he won numerous awards for his efforts. He proceeded to teach courses on film before his creative talents drove him to write novels.

+The Black Stiletto

Martin Talbot’s elderly mother has Alzheimer’s and she’s dying. Talbot did not know how to contend with the oncoming tragedy until he came across several volumes of his mother’s diaries.

He cracked the first volume open and was stunned to learn the truth. Judy Cooper had been the Black Stiletto, a crime-fighting vigilante that haunted the streets of New York. She had gone largely unidentified even as she took on mobsters and crooks.

Talbot cannot believe that the woman dying before his very eyes once fought for justice. So he continues to read the volume and slowly discovers where Judy Cooper began, how her childhood shaped her perception of society and the means through which she transformed from just another woman in the 50s to a masked crusader.

Even as the revelations continue to rock his world, Talbot is confident in his belief that his mother’s escapades are a problem of the past. He is unaware of the emergence of one of Judy’s old enemy, a foe that threatens to destroy Talbot’s already fragile world.

+Black and White

Talbot is still hard at work perusing Judy Cooper’s diaries. This time he picks up with his mother’s escapades in 1959. Judy wants to bring her boot down on a Harlem drug lord. But her martial arts instructor’s daughter has been taken prisoner.

Judy must put her own plans on hold to keep her mentor’s family safe.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Black Stiletto

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