An ex-convict returns to his Chicago community a changed man—but maybe not for the better—in this “vivid, suspenseful, funny, and compassionate novel” (Booklist).
One of Booklist*’s Top 10 First Novels of the Year*
One of Roxane Gay’s Top 10 Books of the Year
After fourteen years in prison, Gerald “Stew Pot” Reeves, age thirty-one, returns home to live with his mom in Parkland, a black middle-class neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. The residents are in a tailspin, dreading the arrival of the man they remember as a frightening delinquent. The anxiety only grows when Stew Pot announces that he experienced a religious awakening in prison.
Most folks are skeptical, with one notable exception: Mrs. Motley, a widowed retired librarian and the Reeves’ next-door neighbor, who loans Stew Pot a Bible, which is seen by him and many in the community as a friendly gesture. With uncompromising fervor (and with a new pit bull named John the Baptist), Stew Pot soon appoints himself the moral judge of Parkland—and starts wreaking havoc on people’s lives. Before long, tension and suspicion reign, and this close-knit community must reckon with questions of faith, fear, and forgiveness . . .
“[A] novel of epiphanies, tragedies, and transformations . . . perfect for book clubs.” —Booklist, starred review
“May slowly builds suspense as he persuasively unfolds the narrative in this work that reads like an Agatha Christie mystery.” —Library Journal
“A wonderful urban novel full of vitality and pathos and grit.” —Dennis Lehane