cover image Ace Boon Coon: The Tales of Elliot Caprice, Book 2

Ace Boon Coon: The Tales of Elliot Caprice, Book 2

Danny Gardner. Bronzeville, $27 (284p) ISBN 978-1-9524-2706-0

Set during “Estes Kefauver’s war on organized crime” in the early 1950s, Gardner’s raw, painful sequel to 2017’s A Negro and an Ofay finds Elliot Caprice, a former cop and small-time criminal of mixed race, working as an investigator for crusading attorney Michael Robin in Chicago. Elliot travels to rural Southville, Ill., to try to save his uncle’s farm from predatory bankers, but he soon returns to Chicago to investigate a murder that may be related to slick Black lawyer Marion Bradshaw, who claims to be working to get new housing for Black residents whose homes are about to be torn down to make way for a new University of Illinois campus, but is actually in cahoots with gangster Izzy Rabinowitz, Michael’s father, to exploit the corrupt political system for their own gain. Powerful groups, including white investors and the Nation of Islam, all have a stake in the redevelopment project, and Elliot puts his life at risk as two more murders add fuel to the city’s growing racial tensions. The struggle in Southville between Black people and their white oppressors adds to the drama. Readers will cheer on Elliot as he tries, despite his cynicism, to do the right thing against almost impossible odds. Fans of socially conscious crime fiction will want to check Gardner out. (Sept.)