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Book review: 'Harlem Shuffle' brings the heists, heart

Book review: 'Harlem Shuffle' brings the heists, heart

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Harlem Shuffle

Harlem Shuffle

If you count yourself among the Colson Whitehead fanatics, you’ll understand why he’s setting the literary world ablaze with his triumphant tomes.

In his new book, “Harlem Shuffle,” the two-time Pulitzer winner introduces us to Ray Carney, the son of a Mafia enforcer who’s built himself a furniture-selling empire in 1959 Harlem.

Life is swell for the husband and father—that is, until his cousin decides to rob the wrong joint, thrusting Carney into the Mafia underworld, where razor-wielding bruisers, a purple-suited mobster and other unsavory characters await him.

Confronted with the legacy of his criminal father, Carney must navigate his way out of trouble while holding on to the respectable life he’s built for himself. All the while, the reader gets a soulful, eye-opening look at the human condition in 1960s New York.

“Harlem Shuffle” is more than a début crime novel—it’s a tremendous fictional feat and mandatory reading for anyone who enjoys superior storytelling.

Nicholas Addison Thomas is a freelance reviewer in Fredericksburg.

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