I think the writing in this book is really good. It’s as good as anything by Walter Mosley I have read, and that’s not entirely a good thing, but it’s good. But it happens to be a LOT like the second season of the Wire in a lot of ways and it’s about Black Panthers in some ways, so I get it, people don’t like it.
The story here takes place in Houston in 1980. It’s several years after our protagonist Jay Porter was a prominent member of a student protest movement in the late 1960s at the University of Houston. He beat a bullshit rioting charge when he was young, took that momentum to go to law school, but found out that the mid-1970s did not carry that momentum and is pretty much foundering now. Celebrating his very pregnant wife’s birthday with a shady river cruise, he stumbles into a mess with a dead white man and a former hooker. Etc etc etc.
All in all it’s a good mystery built upon a nice mix of local politics and petty vice crime. It’s all down the line as good things.
It does follow some familiar paths related to the second season of the Wire, which I will defend to my dying day as a great tv seasons, and also has some obvious connections to Chinatown as well. It also predicts a lot of the criticism related to Black Lives Matter several years before that came about.
Bottom line: It’s good. And it’ll be good tv. You’re welcome for your Emmy Sterling K Brown.