"Especially after his grandfather died, she had hurt for Malcolm, and feared for him as a young Black man coming of age in a county with a scarifying racial history, in a country that daily found ways, some deadly, to remind boys like her son that their very existence could too swiftly become tenuous." ~ 1%
There were so many red flags that pointed toward not reviewing this new book. Of my 673 Goodreads friends, not one has read, recommended or shelved this book. A blurb claims that Trial confirms Richard North Patterson's place as "our most important author of popular fiction." Yet I never heard of the guy before now. The final flag wave was that an older white man wrote a book featuring a Black 18-year-old (Malcolm) and his Black single mother who is a voting rights advocate (Allie). Out of curiosity alone, I gave it a try.
How did Patterson prepare to write from the perspective of a life he knows nothing about? Did he try to put himself in Malcolm's shoes? Did he research, wing it or rip from real news headlines? The more I read, the more off the mark it seemed. I began to side-eye something in every single chapter. The only other main character Patterson could possibly relate to was a young white congressman.
Maybe it's my harsh judgment. I don't agree with Malcolm's point of view being written by a polar opposite. Patterson doesn't know the feeling a Black mother gets when her son is driving while Black. When her son should be home and isn't answering the phone. How the son must feel when being pulled over by a white police officer and arrested for murder. How social injustices arise in a trial.
I could go on and on. It all boils down to me not liking the book at all, struggling to finish, wishing the author stayed in his lane. There is no shame in writing what you KNOW.
Happy Early Pub Day, Richard North Patterson! Trial will be available Tuesday, June 13, 2023.
Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.
Author: Richard North Patterson
Published: June 2023
Genre: Social Justice Fiction