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Slow Motion Riot

More scenes from New Jack City. Blauner’s debut novel Slow Motion Riot, concerns a probation officer, Steven Baum, and a client that got away — a sociopathic teenage crack dealer named Darryl King. Baum is a young white liberal whose ideals are quickly going sour. At the outset of the book, he’s dispensing do-gooder platitudes — ”Every once in a while, you just might turn one of these guys around” — but by the end he’s a psychic casualty of the race and drug wars who has to face the horror within himself. The novel is a breezy, scrupulously researched read — there are even easy-to-follow directions for making crack and setting up your own drug ring. To his credit, Blauner asks questions about the System and manages to keep the novel’s tension up without glamorizing violence. Call it a thriller with a conscience. B

Slow Motion Riot
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