2011 Best Books Finalist
Zug Island: A Detroit Riot Novel tells a Huck Finn-meets-heavy-industry tale about a suburban white kid who gets a crash course in race relations. Set in 1967 against a backdrop of industrial blight and urban decay, the book follows Jake Malone and Theo Semple as they stumble in and out of rhythm on Detroit's mean streets to discover that the face of racism comes in every shade of color.
After getting kicked out of college, Jake needs to find work in Detroit's frozen rust belt. Armed with a shovel and a keen sense of self-preservation, he enters the dark reaches of Zug Island and must prove his worth, not only to himself but to everyone around him. Jake is befriended on the job by Theo. Their friendship grows until put to the test outside the well-defined boundaries of the coke ovens. There they find that racial discrimination, enshrined for decades behind Detroit's segregated suburban communities is alive and thriving.
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"The novel is tightly written with a dramatic plot, well-rounded characters, and clear insights into social history. An engaging, dynamic story that grapples intelligently with themes of race, class, and morality." --KIRKUS REVIEWS
2011-2012 Los Angeles Book Festival General Fiction Honorable Mention