book reviews

Book Review: Harlem Shuffle

Book Details:

  • Published Date: September 14, 2021
  • Author: Colson Whitehead
  • Genre: Fiction, Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Historical
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Length: 336 pages
To his customers and neighbors on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably priced furniture, making a decent life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver’s Row don’t approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it’s still home.

Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger all the time.

Cash is tight, especially with all those installment-plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace, Ray doesn’t ask where it comes from. He knows a discreet jeweler downtown who doesn’t ask questions, either.

Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plan to rob the Hotel Theresa—the “Waldorf of Harlem”—and volunteers Ray’s services as the fence. The heist doesn’t go as planned; they rarely do. Now Ray has a new clientele, one made up of shady cops, vicious local gangsters, two-bit pornographers, and other assorted Harlem lowlifes.

Thus begins the internal tussle between Ray the striver and Ray the crook. As Ray navigates this double life, he begins to see who actually pulls the strings in Harlem. Can Ray avoid getting killed, save his cousin, and grab his share of the big score, all while maintaining his reputation as the go-to source for all your quality home furniture needs? (Amazon)

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This book is about Ray Carney. Since his father was a criminal…he chose to lead his life legally and be better than what his father was. So, he owns a furniture store in Harlem & is happily married with children.

His life seems to be going great until he finds out that his cousin Freddie volunteered him to be a part of a heist to move stolen goods. From here you read about Rays constant struggles and what he is going to do to reach his goals in life.

I found this book to be hard to follow. There was a lot going on and there seemed to be many parts of the book that didn’t seem to have any connection to the actual plot. There were a lot of slow parts of this book as well. Maybe this is a book that I need to pick up and read again in the future, but this played a huge part in my rating. The writing itself was great.

My Rating:

4 star

Have you read Harlem Shuffle? What were your thoughts?


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