WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE
“[A] suspense-filled page-turner.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Sympathizer
"A touching portrait of two families bound together by a split-second decision.” —Attica Locke, Edgar-Award winning author of Bluebird, Bluebird
A Best Book of the Year
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A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in Los Angeles, following two families—one Korean-American, one African-American—grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime
In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it’s been since the unrest of the early 1990s. But Grace Park and Shawn Matthews have their own problems. Grace is sheltered and largely oblivious, living in the Valley with her Korean-immigrant parents, working long hours at the family pharmacy. She’s distraught that her sister hasn’t spoken to their mother in two years, for reasons beyond Grace’s understanding. Shawn has already had enough of politics and protest after an act of violence shattered his family years ago. He just wants to be left alone to enjoy his quiet life in Palmdale.
But when another shocking crime hits LA, both the Park and Matthews families are forced to face down their history while navigating the tumult of a city on the brink of more violence.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Steeped in Los Angeles’ fraught history of race relations, this gripping novel centers on two Californian families—one African American, the other Korean American—whose stories become inextricably tangled. In the aftermath of the Rodney King trial, vivacious teenager Ava Matthews is gunned down by middle-aged Jung-Ja Han in a convenience store. The effects of this event ripple poisonously for generations, and Steph Cha draws us into her characters’ lives with precision and insight. Cha, the author of the Juniper Song detective series, draws from a deep well of empathy as she explores the impact of incarceration on a family. Your House Will Pay reads like a powerful miniseries.
Based on a true case, Cha's ambitious tale of race, identity, and murder delivers on the promise of her Juniper Song mysteries (Dead Soon Enough, etc.). Racial tensions in Los Angeles are at a boiling point following the police shooting of a black teenager, and 27-year-old Grace Park, who lives with her Korean immigrant parents, shares the sense of outrage felt by many. Her sheltered world is suddenly shattered when her mother, Yvonne, is shot in front of the family pharmacy in a drive-by shooting. Dark family secrets begin to emerge about Yvonne's involvement in the notorious 1991 shooting of Ava Matthews, an unarmed young black woman, by a Korean shopkeeper. Grace is torn by conflicting emotions of concern for her mother and shame at the implications of her mother's crime. Meanwhile, Ava's brother, Shawn Matthews, has tried to put the past behind him. When news of Yvonne's attempted murder reaches him, it brings up emotions Shawn has long fought to keep down. The tension rises as the authorities circle in on his family as possible suspects in Yvonne's shooting. This timely, morally complex story could well be Cha's breakout novel.