A novel set in Jim Crow Florida that follows Robert Stephens Jr. as he's sent to a segregated reform school that is a chamber of terrors where he sees the horrors of racism and injustice, for the living, and the dead.
Emotive and eschews realism for the supernatural. It combines current concerns about race and justice for young Black men with an intensely readable, immersive story with decisive paranormal features. In fact, the novel’s extended, layered denouement is so heart-smashingly good, it made me late for work. I couldn’t stop reading. I needed to find out what was going to happen next, and next, and next ... A supernatural historical novel and a straight-up page-turner. This is a difficult combination to sustain for nearly 600 pages, but Due accomplishes it, and in so doing invites us to consider what it means to be enthralled, even entertained, by a young man’s ethical dilemmas, and to find ourselves unexpectedly rooting for revenge, for the living and the dead.
Stunning ... Captivating and alive ... I barely stirred while reading the novel’s final hundred, deeply satisfying pages, transported into Due’s beautiful and terrible world, where 'death was as real as breathing.'
The novel often feels more like dystopian fiction than a gothic ghost story ... Moving, and convincing because it knows that no one needs to possess America to force it to do evil. And it also knows that real evil is a lot worse than the classics would have us believe.