"The 'Cleanup Man" opens with the main character, Tomeka Washington, breaking up with her uncommitted boyfriend of two years, Antone, on Thanksgiving Day. Tomeka has used this traditional family day to secure their commitment to each other by preparing a feast fit for a king. However, her significant other does not show up. Instead, he uses the worn out excuse of 'I am not ready." to validate his reason for not attending the exclusive dinner. Anger flares and blaring words are exchanged like battle fire. When the smoke clears, Tomeka makes a phone call to her two best friends: Lashanodria Cox and Shelby Harrington. Through the uplifting conversation between Lashanodria and Shelby, an unforgettable Friday night 'Ladies Night' is scheduled.
As the book progresses, a soap opera drama manifests. Bits and pieces of the characters' past and future are glimpsed. The author evolves these glimpses by focusing on each character's lifestyle, heart, psyche, and soul. After the breakup with Antone, Tomeka takes into consideration the rekindling of an old flame, her daughter's father who is the highest paid football player in the history of the game. Instead of making sure he is over Tomeka, Antone foolishly seeks another lover as soon as possible and decides to go to the same nightclub Tomeka and her friends have agreed to have their 'Ladies Night'.
Shelby discovers her husband, a successful business tycoon, is cheating on her and that the estranged woman is pregnant. Then, there is the charming yet deceptive Lashanodria who is sleeping with Tomeka's baby father unbeknown to anyone. A number dialed wrong leads to an unforgettable encounter when Tomeka goes to the nightclub alone, not awareof the storm of drama her friends are weathering. Tomeka witnesses Antone romancing another woman and almost loses her composure. As Tomeka attempts to avoid a confrontation by fleeing from the party, Antone bumps into a group of innocent female patrons and causes a domino affect of spilled drinks. Before he can apologize, he espies Tomeka and becomes engulfs by an immense amount of emotions. He approaches her and grabs Tomeka's arm in an ungentleman-like fashion. As Tomeka advises Antone to release her, one of the innocent female bystanders punches him from his blindside. Before the situation can escalate any further, the nightclub owner orders his security to toss Antone out of his club.
The nightclub owner shows Tomeka a courtesy that she has never known and introduces himself as Amere Destiny. Tomeka is flatter by his genuine southern candor. Amere offers to cook dinner for Tomeka. She accepts the offer and Amere's business card. However, Amere has been doing his best to avoid his homicidal ex-girlfriend, Latrea, who is determined that if she can't have him no other woman will. In a dramatic climax, Shelby attempts suicide when she discovers Benjamin's infidelity and his intentions to divorce her and leave her financially destitute. Tomeka learns of Lashanodria and her baby's father sexual relationship. Tomeka turns to God to guide her through these troubled times and to help her make the best choices concerning her friends and lovers. Amere survives a tragedy with Latrea and also turns to God for guidance. Amere and Tomeka come to believe that God has brought them through their hurtful pasts to begin a new brighter future as a family.
"'The Cleanup Man" is an excellentstory about interpersonal and personal relationships, how the actions of one or more persons can have a cascading effect on others, and the reemerging belief that there is a thin line between love and hate. Also, 'The Cleanup Man" provides the reader with inspiration and hope that no matter how big the situation is, God is always bigger, more powerful, and always present during the wrath of the storm. G.S.CREWS