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These nine stories about contemporary urban life are written with a surgeon's precision. The difficult relationships between fathers and sons, teenagers and their friends, and men and women are told from the perspective of a man who walked the streets where his characters live. Alternately gritty and tender, the author's ability to relate human triumphs and failures ultimately lends a universality to the book that lifts it beyond the perimeters that confine most attempts to explore the black experience in America. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
The rape of a prominent white woman unleashes the fury of a vicious, bigoted sheriff whose outrageous methods are either sanctioned, excused, or ignored by officials in Lake County, Florida. This is both an unsparing examination of the deep-seated racism that permeated the state like a virulent plague and an eloquent tribute to the few brave souls who stood up and resisted it. Inspiring and horrifying, and a worthy continuation of the story that began in Mr. King's Pulitzer prize-winning Devil in the Grove. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
District Attorney William Travers Jerome's name.rang out like a death knell to a criminal element that had previously acted with impunity in turn-of-the-century New York. Jerome wasn't intimidated by the enormous sway that Tammany Hall held over the city or the exalted social standing of the targets of his investigations. His most infamous case, however, was the cold-blooded murder of the renowned architect and dedicated hedonist, Stanford White, by the husband of Evelyn Nesbit, the celebrated Girl in the Red Velvet Swing. An atmospheric and exciting recreation of an era that pulsed with the kind of tacky, vulgar glamour that seems uniquely American. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
The difficult lives of members of the Native American community in Oakland, California reflect the struggle of the race throughout the history of the United States. This is a literate, sober examination of the generational devastation caused by a country that once beckoned strangers into its welcoming arms while systematically and cruelly marginalizing the people who were truly native to it. An impressive debut novel recounting a contemporary Trail of Tears that culminates in a tragedy that is all too familiar in America today. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
A man pays a young woman to pose as his girlfriend while he visits his reclusive, difficult mother over the Christmas holidays. Her injection into a spectacularly dysfunctional family causes all of the members to reassess their lives and to make tentative steps onto the bridge across chasms that have separated them.for decades. Strikingly original and written with a sure sense of the fragility of human relationships. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves