Choke Hold sounds like a legal thriller, but it opens with a dose of unexpected humor: "Putting a law firm above a funeral home might seem an unwise marketing decision. But the price was right on the rent." Both businesses are struggling, and both proprietors are involved in civil rights issues in their community which take them away from their appointed positions and into dangers which include confronting injustice and murder.
Subtle humor is injected into a story line that holds emotional connections, action, and social issues alike ("Whenever they turned on the waterworks, he could feel the size of his retainer shrinking...So, here she was - no cash, no credit - and probably (and this was the real challenge) with no idea whatever where chubby hubby had his assets hid."). The infusion of all these elements into a story that ultimately revolves around murder and survival makes for a multi-faceted production that is, in turn, a gripping story of lost causes, choking situations, and heartbreak.
It should be noted that Choke Hold is replete with descriptions of urban noir culture and a sense of the urgency of race relations in the 1980s. Issues of oppression and justice are wound into the overall story of character choices and interactions, making for a saga that takes one man's ill-fated encounter with the police and expands the tale to demonstrate its wider-reaching impact on individuals and the community.
What happens when authorities and justice systems don't seem to care about injustice and the outcome of brutality?
Choke Hold succeeds in posing some hard questions in the course of its descriptions of a personal injury lawyer's special challenge, making it a top recommendation for those who like police and legal procedural mysteries tempered by a healthy dose of social inspection and a light dash of wry humor throughout.
An Amazing Look At History Through A Novelist’s Eyes - Welcome to a picaresque world loosely based on South Central Los Angeles in the late Eighties, and meet a low-budget ambulance chaser, a respected community figure who’s also a funeral director, a gorgeous Japanese-Hawaiian MD, sundry movers and shakers among the black community, and a handful of cops and county officials, none anxious to let justice take its course.
Gerald Everett Jones weaves these singular characters into a thrilling tapestry whose darker threads represent centuries of oppression. The most colorful elements describe the quest for justice and closure for the impoverished family of a black man who had failed to genuflect deeply enough to mollify a couple of street cops. The minimum demands of a police state being that the subjugated continually ratify their subjugation, this particular black man turned up dead. And no one in authority seemed to care.
Jones fleshes out this cautionary tale with characters who seem to leap off the page, and whose lives and needs quickly become important to the reader.
I’ve had the pleasure of reading several of Jones’ previous books, all quite satisfying, but now it seems that he has reached for and fully grasped a new and higher level of his art.
Do Not Sleep on This Book - For the times that we are in, this book is very telling. The story is of a man who dies with police involvement and a lawyer's fight to find justice, Will he get the justice he seeks? Read the book and find out. Once I started this book, I could not put it down. It was that good. This was my first time reading this author, but it will not be my last. Outstanding job to the author. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC copy of this book in return for my honest review.