Nerese “Tweetie” Ammons (Samaritan, by Richard Price)Read about the other entries on the list.
Detective Nerese Ammons is the kind of single mom who makes the world go round. Not only is she a capable detective, solving crimes and teaching kids from the impoverished New Jersey neighborhood she clawed her way out of how to stay clear of trouble, but she’s raising her teenage son, Darren, and supporting her elderly alcoholic mother, her uncle, and her 97-year-old, Alzheimer’s-addled former father-in-law. She also looks out for her ne’er-do-well brothers. As she puts it, “I got a ton of people I’m carrying.” Nerese plans to retire to Florida after 20 years as a police officer, but first she agrees to solve the case of an assault on a childhood friend, Ray, who once helped her out of a jam. Still, she keeps her eyes on the Florida prize. “I tell my son Darren, he’s almost eighteen, I tell him if he don’t get accepted into a college with a scholarship attached, or have a real job come June? He’s going into the army, ’cause Mommy has left the building.”