cover image We Are Not Like Them

We Are Not Like Them

Christine Pride and Jo Piazza. Atria, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-1-982181-03-1

Piazza (Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win) teams up with veteran book editor Pride for a blistering and incisive story of race, friendship, and police violence in Philadelphia. Riley Wilson, who is Black, is a TV news reporter. Her best friend from childhood, Jenny Murphy, who is white, never planned to be a policeman’s wife—but then her white husband, Kevin, quits his sales job and becomes a cop. Jenny gets pregnant after a series of unsuccessful IVF treatments, the last of which Riley paid for, and is in her third trimester when 14-year-old Justin Dwyer, who is Black, is shot by Kevin. Riley is assigned to cover the story while Jenny nears her due date. Riley and Jenny’s relationship is strained after Jenny is initially concerned for Kevin rather than Justin, who is on life support (if he dies, Kevin could be charged with murder). The circumstances feel conveniently invented in service of the premise, though the authors skillfully build tension, such as whether Riley’s boss at the station will discover her conflict of interest regarding Jenny, and what will happen with Riley’s relationship with her ex-boyfriend Corey, who is white. This character-driven novel ought to spark much discussion. (Oct.)