NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2020 BY THE GUARDIAN UK
Pittsburgh, 1995. The son of a black father he’s never known and a white mother he sometimes wishes he didn’t, 22-year-old Bobby Saraceno is passing for white. Raised by his bigoted maternal grandfather, Bobby has hidden his truth from everyone, even his best friend and fellow comic-book geek, Aaron, who has just returned home from prison a hardened racist.
Bobby’s disparate worlds collide when his and Aaron’s reunion is interrupted by a confrontation where Bobby witnesses Aaron assault a young black man with a brick. Fearing for his safety and his freedom, Bobby must keep his secret from Aaron and conceal his unwitting involvement in the hate crime from the police. But Bobby’s delicate house of cards crumbles when his father enters his life after more than 20 years.
Vercher's uneven debut, a crime novel set in 1995 Pittsburgh, Pa., gets off to a fast, violent start. Bobby Saraceno, the 22-year-old son of a single white mother, at first doesn't recognize his best friend, Aaron, an investment banker's son who recently spent three years in prison for selling drugs. Aaron, who hooked up with the Aryan Brotherhood while behind bars, has shaved his head and beefed up. When the two friends go out to eat, Aaron's prison tattoos catch the eye of a young black man, Marcus Anderson. After a hostile verbal exchange, the ex-con hits Marcus in the head with a brick. The panicky Bobby drives away from the scene with Aaron. Marcus is transported to the ER, where he's treated by Robert Winston, an unhappily married black doctor, who later heads to a bar to drown his sorrows. There Winston encounters Bobby's mom, Isabel, whom he doesn't recognize, though they once had a fling. Isabel, who knows he's Bobby's father, doesn't identify herself. More coincidences follow as this gritty tale of race in America swerves into soap opera involving Isabel's efforts to bring Winston and Bobby together. The contrived plot might work better on the big screen than it does on the page.
Unique - LOVED IT!
An incredible find! An excellent plot that deals with race in an unexpected way. Highly recommended! A good hardworking mixed race kid struggles with his best friend’s recent prison release as a white supremest. I’m still in shock over the ending.