About China White

China White book cover. A Mercy Johnson Novel. Red background with three white flower and a syringe running diagonal through the middle white flower. Washington, D.C. criminal defense attorney Mercy Johnson has a nose for mischief.  When she is asked to represent a young college student in a heroin smuggling case, she senses that mischief will make her job harder than usual. Her instincts prove reliable.  

 

Heroin of a street value of twenty million dollars is the main exhibit in the trial of United States v. John Morrow in federal court in Washington, D.C.  During a recess, thieves walk out of the courtroom with the heroin, taking Mercy and Morrow as hostages.  Will Banks, a seasoned narcotics detective, must recover the heroin and bring the thieves to account.

Mercy and her investigator, Sam Lester, build a defense for Morrow, while Banks grapples with the fear that he may have arrested the wrong man. Mercy’s nephew, one of Banks’ hand-picked Narcotics Task Force members, gets drawn into the investigation of the heroin heist, and a botched sting to recover the heroin nearly costs him his life.  The sting nets a drug dealer who turns informant and leads Banks to a prominent business owner and his police detective henchman.  Can Mercy and Morrow convince Banks and the federal prosecutor that Morrow is not a part of the heroin conspiracy?

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Below is some background information for readers of this first book in the Mercy Johnson series.

SETTING: WASHINGTON, D.C.

Washington became the seat of the federal government in 1800. The land called “City of Washington” was ceded by Maryland and Virginia. The first petition to Congress for autonomy by residents of Washington came in 1802. Congress approved a charter allowing residents the right to elect a local legislature, called a Council, that could pass laws and levy a tax on real estate to pay for services. A mayor was appointed by the President. Seventy years later the city was able to elect a house of delegates, and a non-voting delegate to Congress. The Council was replaced by three commissioners appointed by the President. Citizens continued to press for self-governance and for representation in Congress. In 1967 the commissioner form of government gave way to a mayor-commissioner and a nine-member city council appointed by the President.

In 1970 the District got a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives. Congress continued to run the District. In 1973, Congress passed the Home Rule Act, which gave limited powers of self-governance to residents of the District of Columbia. District residents were able to vote for President and Vice-President, and to elect a Mayor and Council. The Council has the power to pass laws and to approve the budget submitted by the Mayor. Congress reviews all legislation passed by the Council and must approve it before it becomes law. The President appoints District judges.

The District still has no voting representative in Congress. Citizens continue to lobby for equal representation. License plates with “No taxation without representation” can be seen on cars around the city. Various bills to grant statehood or additional autonomy have died in Congress.