Author: Randy Alcorn
Length: 612 pp.
Synopsis: Clarence Abernathy is a black man with a chip on his shoulder. A journalist for the Portland, Oregon Tribune, he has worked his whole adult life to build his reputation and rise above what he thinks is the stereotype of an American black man. However, when his sister Dani and her young daughter are murdered in what appears to be a gang-related drive-by shooting, Clarence begins a journey that will cause him to question everything he always assumed about race, racism, himself, and God. This is a suspenseful novel with a surprise ending.
My Thoughts: This is a long book. Although I enjoyed it (the fact that I actually finished it is evidence of that), I commented to my husband repeatedly while reading it, “This book needs editing!” Clarence Abernathy and his friends and family grew on me, and I’ll admit that I shed a few tears at the end of the novel. However, I almost think that the combination of gang activity, political intrigue, Dani’s experiences in heaven, Clarence’s father’s reminiscences about living through the span of the Civil Rights movement, and Clarence’s own spiritual development were too much for one reader to keep track of. Some of the characterization, too, seemed stereotypical. Clarence, the consummate journalist, with this objective, questioning mind, resorted to brute force and violence too many times for me to find it believable. It just seemed out of character for him. Despite the flaws that I see in this novel, though, I would still recommend it as an entertaining and thought-provoking read. It did make me think about race relations in a new way.