Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Seven titles that use mystery to examine race

Erin E. Adams is a first-generation Haitian American writer and theatre artist. She received her BA with honors in literary arts from Brown University, her MFA in acting from The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program, and her MFA in dramatic writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. An award-winning playwright and actor, Adams has called New York City home for the last decade. Jackal is her first novel.

At Electric Lit she tagged seven novels that "explore what it means to be a person of color navigating a justice system rooted in racism." One title on the list:
Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

Your House Will Pay details the historical tensions between the Black and Korean communities in Los Angeles. While living with her Korean immigrant parents and working in the family pharmacy, Grace Park struggles to understand the distance between her parents and her sister Miriam. After a police shooting of another Black teenager, Shawn Matthews grapples with his relationship with his family while mourning the memory of his sister who was also killed by police and keeping his own demons at bay. When a shocking crime roils L.A., the Parks and the Matthews face a reckoning decades in the making.

Cha deftly constructs a story where the personal is also political. Using real life events and beautifully drawn characters, the mystery breaks open and reveals the complexities of past and present racial tensions at every turn.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Your House Will Pay is among María Amparo Escandón's eight books about living in Los Angeles, Alyssa Cole's five top crime novels that explore social issues, Sara Sligar's seven California crime novels with a nuanced take on race, class, gender & community, and Karen Dietrich's eight top red herrings in contemporary crime fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue