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Trash is piled on the streets, crime is at a record high, and the city is careening towards bankruptcy. A shooting war has broken out between the NYPD and the Black Liberation Army. Ray Carney, furniture-store owner and ex fence, is trying to keep his head down, his business up, and his life on the straight and narrow.
His only immediate need is Jackson 5 tickets for his daughter May, so what harm could it do to hit up Munson, his old police contact and fixer extraordinaire? And suddenly, staying out of the game becomes more complicated - and deadly. When one of Ray's tenants is badly injured in a fire, he enlists the enduringly violent Pepper to look into how it started, leading the duo to battle their way through a crumbling metropolis run by the shady, the violent and the utterly corrupt. In scalpel-sharp prose and with unnerving clarity and wit, Colson Whitehead writes about a city that runs on cronyism, threats, ego, ambition, incompetence and even, sometimes, pride.
Crook Manifesto is a kaleidoscopic portrait of Harlem, and a searching portrait of how families work in the face of indifference, chaos and hostility.