Twenty-five years after his high school graduation, David Halpert returns to a place that most people flee. But David is making his own escape—from his divorce and the death of his son. In Detroit, David learns about the double shooting of his high school girlfriend Natalie and her black half-brother, Dirk. As David becomes involved with Natalie’s sister, he will discover that both he and his hometown have reasons to hope.
As compelling an urban portrait as The Wire and a touching love story, Say Nice Things About Detroit takes place in a racially polarized, economically collapsing city that doesn’t seem like a place for rebirth. But as David tries to make sense of the mystery behind Natalie’s death and puts back the pieces of his own life, he is forced to answer a simple question: if you want to go home again, what do you do if home is Detroit?
About Scott Lasser
Scott Lasser, a native of Detroit, has worked for the National Steel Corporation and Lehman Brothers. He is the author of three novels, including Battle Creek, and currently lives in Aspen, Colorado, and Los Angeles, California.
Owing to the insistence of his father, Halpert moves from Denver back to Detroit. At first he comes to help his father take care of his increasingly dementia-tormented mother, but he’s also dealing with the loss of his son Cory four years before and the subsequent breakup of his marriage. Even though in the back of his mind Halpert feels that “only the demented move to Detroit,” he finds that Motor City is in his blood, for it’s always been the locus of his childhood, friends and family. Although Halpert finds work as a lawyer, dealing primarily in wills and trusts, Lasser is far more interested in Halpert’s personal life. Halpert discovers that Natalie, a girl he had dated in high school, and her half-brother Dirk had both been murdered just a few days before he arrived home. Lasser presents extended flashbacks in which we get to know Natalie and Dirk, and because they have the same mother but fathers of different races, Lasser also uses the two siblings to confront racial issues. Dirk’s a straight arrow, an FBI agent involved in undercover drug work, and he serves as a surrogate father to Marlon, son of Dirk’s best friend Everett, who’s dying of cancer. At 13, Marlon smokes weed and definitely could use a moral compass. He’s also mixing with unsavory types who might be involved in the killing of Natalie and Dirk. Halpert hooks up with Carolyn, a sister of the murder victims, who becomes pregnant and decides to leave her husband for Halpert. – Kirkus Reviews
About Black and White and a Great City’s Blight
The New York Times Book Review – August 28, 2012 (Excerpt)
In the classic Motown song “Dancing in the Street,” Martha and the Vandellas sang, “Can’t forget the Motor City.” That’s easy enough to say when the topic is music: the MC5, the White Stripes, Bob Seger,Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and countless other influential musicians have their roots there. But when it comes to literature, forgetting Detroit can be regrettably easy to do. The city may be one of our great, if crumbling, metropolises, yet contemporary fiction set there is sparse. Dean Bakopoulos and Charles Baxter have written memorably about Detroit’s suburbs and nearby Ann Arbor. But fiction about present-day Detroit itself? Not so much lately; it’s almost as if novels themselves had had to flee the post-1960s urban blight.
The Detroit riots of 1967 appeared in both Joyce Carol Oates’s “Them” and Jeffrey Eugenides’s “Middlesex.” For the years that followed, though, the most familiar examples of Detroit writing are probably the crackling crime novels of Elmore Leonard and the life-affirming bromides offered up by Mitch Albom, particularly in “Have a Little Faith.” [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS
A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith.
- 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
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