“A spectacularly pleasurable read, and while it is, of course, literary, it’s also a pure, unapologetic crime-fiction page-turner.”


Just finished Harlem Shuffle by Colton Whitehead. This latest novel from the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner takes place in Harlem in the early 1960s. It is a crime novel based around a character named Ray Carney. Ray owns his own furniture store. His Dad was a small-time hood. Ray is pretty clean except for the occasional selling of stolen merchandise or fencing some small jewelry items. He is married and has a daughter and his wife is pregnant with their second child. All is pretty good.

Except for when his cousin Freddy shows up. Then there is always possible trouble. Freddy was always telling Ray “sorry I got you in trouble” since they were kids. And it’s going to happen again.
When Freddy aproaches Ray about fencing a certain job about to come down, Ray turns him down. The problem is Freddy forgot to tell the other guys on the job about Rays decision.
The story continues for the most part with Freddy showing up at odd times and only trouble can follow. Sometimes big trouble. Really big trouble.

Ray is just trying to improve his business and with local crime and occasional race riots, that’s getting harder to do. So Ray has multiple problems on his hands, and it’s getting really hard to stay afloat.
Whitehead is a great writer who can tell a great tale and this book is no exception. Rumor has it that he is already working on a sequel. I hope so.
Highly recommended.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 4th November 2021

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Richard Franco