Dear Great Book Guru, My family is having our annual Thanksgiving gathering - about 50 of us get together the Sunday before the big day. It’s lots of fun and someone always asks, “what have you read lately?” I’d love to have a great book to recommend - any suggestions? Thankful Reader
Dear Thankful Reader, A few months ago, I reviewed Colson Whitehead’s HARLEM SHUTTLE – the first novel in a projected trilogy. Recently I read CROOK MANIFESTO - second in the series. Ray Carney - furniture store owner/small time criminal - remains the hero of the novel but now we have moved from the 1960’s to the turbulent 1970’s. Divided into three separate novella-like tales, the CROOK MANIFESTO tells a compelling tale of political corruption on many levels. New York City and Harlem, in particular, is ablaze with fiery destruction. Carney vows to leave his petty crime career behind as he becomes an established business and family man, but he is brought back into the fray as he tries to get Jackson 5 tickets for his teenage daughter. Characters we met in his earlier novel reappear - older but many still deeply involved in arson, safecracking, and robbery. The elite Dumas Club – a social bastion for Harlem’s elite businessmen and politicians - that had earlier rejected Carney - now begrudgingly accepts him. His business is flourishing, and his wife’s travel agency attracts an array of colorful and affluent clients. All is going well but the neighborhood is still awash with corporate and local crime. Will Carney and his city be able to survive and prosper? The novel beautifully captures the energy and fears of the times - highly recommended!