*Starred Review* It’s Detroit in 1967, and the city is on fire. The larger world is on the
edge of detonating, too. JFK is dead, and within a year, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King will be, too. The Vietnam War
seems to be coming home. That’s the landscape for this ferocious novel that makes so many other, similar takes on the
era read like tame exercises in word spinning. Violence, pain, and anger are palpably real here, and the effect is overpowering.
Two men are on a collision course. One is a black Vietnam vet whose loss of a brother under cloudy circumstances draws him
into a murderous gang of activists; the other is a white Detroit cop uneasy with the code of silence protecting his dirty
colleagues. Both men have conventional fathers infuriated by their sons’ behavior, and the family quarrels aren’t
just bickering. They’re incendiary in their own way, rich with the language of hurt. Oh, yes, there’s a murder
mystery here, too, and the effort to unravel it provides a subtext that surfaces in the startling conclusion. Forget gritty—that’s
far too mild. This one is genuinely noir, in that overused term’s darkest sense. --Don Crinklaw
EXERPT FROM THE TEXT
Thomas didn’t stop walking or otherwise
indicate that he had seen anything. As he moved closer, he reached for his service revolver, placing his
hand on the snap and undoing it. He stepped on the pathway to his building and saw the vague figure of
a man hiding in the hedge to his right.
Thomas’ heart sped up and his grip tightened on the pistol. His
mind filled with all his troubles and through the clutter one thought arose clear and cruel: someone would die tonight.
Suddenly, a car’s headlights
went on across the street behind him. The light bathed him, casting his shadow before him.
In that instant, Thomas saw
more that just his own outline. He saw the man by the hedge was just a jacket hanging from a cord with
a skullcap perched on top. The second thing he saw was the shape of another man crouching between two parked
The light from the car across the street swung to the left as it turned. All of the shadows angled
to the right. Thomas saw the crouching man‘s shadow rise. He pulled his revolver
“Stop!” Thomas yelled, the gun now out in front of him.
The man moved with amazing speed and Thomas had
to move back to keep some distance from between the attacker and himself.
The man stopped his advance. Thomas
held the gun leveled at the man’s chest.
the face of Robert Jackson. Robert’s left hand was closed into a fist and in his right; he held an opened knife.