Stuart Albright's newest novel, Bull City, is firmly rooted in its setting: the book could be partly seen as a love letter to gritty, dirty, Durham. Since this is my adoptive hometown, I was eager to read this locally set tale.
When Meena Latif ends up dead in a dumpster, Tye Ellison is hauled in and charged. Tye maintains that he was just searching the dumpster for food, but he's homeless, without friends or an alibi: he's an easy scapegoat. When his brother, Sid, hears what is happening, he returns to his former hometown and begins investigating on his own. His investigations lead Sid deep into the world of gang violence, putting his own life in danger.
And then there's Malika. Meena's younger sister hasn't been home since she headed off to college ten years ago, but her sister's murder forces her to face the demons of her past...including Sid.
This story weaves the memories of Sid and Malika into the present-day tragedy, creating a tale rich with layers. Although the resolution felt stereotypical, the characters and the city are worth investing in. If you're looking for a stark dose of modern urban America, this novel will appeal to you.
Also, check out Albright's local public radio interview discussing the book.
Have you ever read a novel set in your hometown, or someplace you've spent any time? Did the fiction change your view of the place?