Hit Time
By Ardella Garland
Published by Simon & Schuster 
February 2002; 0-684-87376-1 ; 224 pages

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Hit Time  Yolanda JoePrologue

Story Slug = Cold Charity

5 P.M. Show, December 3rd


(Dan Reads)


The American Heart Association is telling the Elite Swim Club to go jump in the lake.


Once again it's time for the club's annual charity event, the Winter Relay. Club members have collected $10,000 in pledges this year.

WJIV's Georgia Barnett is live at the lakefront with details.






(Georgia Live)


Dan, we are having unseasonably warm weather for December. Today's high was around 50 degrees. But that'll do little to knock the chill off the ice-cold waters of Lake Michigan.

The race is now in its tenth year. A swimmer will start at the pier, go out to that buoy and back, then the next swimmer will take off.

As you can see behind me, I'm surrounded by family and friends of the Elite Swim Club. They're here to cheer on their loved ones for charity.

(natural sound/crowd cheers)

The swimmers are lined up. The official is ready to start.

(crowd counts down/

starter pistol shot)

And they're off! Wow, look at them go!

(natural sound race/

wide shot)

Now if you, the Channel 8 audience, would like to help the Elite Swim Club reach its goal by making a donation call the number on the bottom of your screen....

(pandemonium in water/

wide shot)

Something's...something's wrong...I can't tell...the swimmers are coming back. They're panicking!

(various swimmers shouting)

Oh my God! Help! There's a body! It's a man! A dead body in the lake! Oh my God!

What a tripped-out way to start a workweek.

Monday afternoon I went out to do a live shot about a charity event, a simple feel-good story -- an easy-pleasy I call it. That easy-pleasy turned ugly-wugly right there during my live shot with three hundred thousand viewers watching.

Eyeballing the ugly.

We stayed hot with the coverage. I was live. When the police arrived -- when they pulled the body out of the water. My ace cameraman, Zeke Rouster, was all over the video, getting shots of the scene from various angles. I was hustling. I was giving detailed descriptions about every little thing that was going on. I sounded like a sportscaster except my play-by-play involved divers, detectives, and dead men.

Dead men tell no tales.

Or answer any questions either for that matter.

Like...who was this man? Was this an accident? A suicide? Or could it be murder?

It's like a TV game show, except there's no Regis and no grand prize. The viewers follow the story intently as it unfolds, waiting for the right answers, wondering how it'll all turn out. And it's a hard game to play too except for the people who must...like the police and the press.

In this case that would be my boyfriend Doug and me. Who knows how many twists and turns this news story will take before winding down to the truth. Who knows?

Copyright 2002 by Yolanda Joe
Reprinted with permission. (back to top)


Daredevil TV reporter Georgia Barnett returns in another witty, wild, and heart-stopping mystery by Ardella Garland -- pen name of bestselling novelist Yolanda Joe.

Georgia Barnett's live broadcast during an outdoor charity event isn't the only thing making news. Her report is interrupted by a grim discovery: floating in Lake Michigan is the body of Fab Weaver, head of Hit Time Records, one of the most renowned and cutthroat companies on Chicago's Record Row. When suspicion falls on Jimmy Flamingo, a close family friend and down-on-his-luck blues guitarist, Georgia and her twin sister Peaches, nightclub owner and blues singer extraordinaire, quickly get on the case.

While hunting for evidence that will clear Jimmy, Georgia, Peaches, and Georgia's handsome love interest, Detective Doug Eckart, uncover a history of incredible artistry and devastating exploitation in the Chicago music business. Their investigation transports them into a bygone era, when Chicago was the hub of the African-American music scene and Record Row was even more prominent than Motown, giving the world such legends as Etta James and Curtis Mayfield. But while their songs ruled the airwaves and sold millions, many R&B artists of that era -- including Flamingo -- never made millions. As Georgia continues her search for the truth, the legacy of this inequity becomes shockingly apparent.

Clever, fast-paced, and endlessly absorbing, Hit Time is a roller-coaster ride of a mystery and an eye-opening look at a controversial slice of America's musical past.

Amazon readers rating: from 2 reviews

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Ardella Garland (Powell Photography)Ardella Garland is the pen name of Yolanda Joe. Joe's first mystery written under the name Ardella Garland was Details at 10. A graduate of Yale University and the Columbia University School of Journalism, she has written for CBS News and WGN Television in Chicago.

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