RaveThe Washington PostMen We Reaped is a somber, slender book about grief and mourning and the blight of racism and poverty in DeLisle, Miss. ... An often beautiful book, perhaps most moving when Ward writes about growing up in food-stamp-level poverty and the dissolution of her parents’ marriage. It also puts the full beam of Ward’s literary vision on the lives and expectations of rural black people in the Deep South, perhaps one of the smallest bookshelves in the library ... She’s great at describing her familial migration and disintegration — her tact is more literary than journalistic, and it works.
PositiveThe Washington Post\"Grisham’s forte of course is the legal thriller, not thick-cut literary Southern Gothic, but he has often drawn on the state’s racist framework for plot and character development ... This is an accurate portrait of Mississippi in the 1940s, and it illuminates one of the difficulties in writing about the era today.\
Ed. by Gary Phillips
PositiveThe Washington PostThis collection of 15 short stories, inspired by right-wing conspiracy theories about the 44th president, take aim at the freak-show realities of the 45th … This science fiction literary act of resistance aims to be a ‘thrill ride of weirdo, noirish, pulpy goodness.’ You’ve got talking dogs, Obama as a space alien and a floating biomedical freak named Balthazar … The subtext of horror today is not the Red Menace or the atomic age, but racism, Islamophobia and ham-fisted greed. Some stories in The Obama Inheritance feel like they are one degree from reality; others are a good pole-vault from it … These tales finish as an entertaining, if uneven, look at the world we live in.
PositiveThe Washington Post ... Locke is a brisk writer with a sharp eye for the subtleties of how rural white Southerners tend to act as if their little towns belong to them — and react harshly to black independence.
RaveThe Washington Post\"...the result is riveting and scary — in a lot of ways ... The action — a lot of it related in one- or two-sentence paragraphs that rocket you through the tale — is, as you might expect, cinematic. It’s often funny, ironic and tense ... what do you think will happen when a cop like this, working in Harlem, thinks that he’s the good guy? Yeah. This novel? It’s that scary.\
RaveThe Washington Post...a pleasantly twisted character study and a love story told in no particular rush ... Lehane, is, as ever, a graceful writer, observant of the world that shapes his characters’ lives. The desperation that overtakes Rachel in the latter stages of the novel is part of the national baring of the teeth ... There’s nothing dubious about the merits here. Lehane is in command of what he’s doing — unspooling plot twists and developing his character as Rachel descends into her own heart of darkness.
PositiveThe Washington PostChandler’s novels and James Ellroy’s 'L.A. Quartet' covered the same city and era — the 1940s and 1950s — but neither offered any real insight into the black side of town. Think of the wrongly charged black suspects in Ellroy’s brilliant L.A. Confidential, for example. The black guys are there as a plot complication. The detectives really don’t pay any price for blowing them away. If Easy had investigated? That would have been the story, full stop ... If you’ve read Mosley, you know that Easy is probably going to figure things out by the end, although at a cost. But like the crosstown drive from West L.A. to Watts, you don’t hop in the car with Easy Rawlins for the destination. You ride shotgun for the trip.