Smoke Kings by Jahmal Mayfield

Smoke Kings by Jahmal Mayfield
English | 2024 | Mystery & Thriller

In the vein of Get Out and Razorblade Tears, a feast of noir fiction and probing social commentary that asks us to consider what would happen if reparations were finally charged and exacted.


Nate Evers, a young black political activist, struggles with rage as his people are still being killed in the streets 62 years after Emmett Till. When his little cousin is murdered, Nate shuns the graffiti murals, candlelight vigils, and Twitter hashtags that are commonplace after these senseless deaths. Instead, he leads 3 grief-stricken friends on a mission of retribution, kidnapping the descendants of long-ago perpetrators of hate crimes, confronting the targets with their racist lineages, and forcing them to pay reparations to a community fund. For 3 of the group members, the results mean justice; for Nate – pure revenge.

Not all targets go quietly into the night, though, and Nate and his friends’ world spirals out of control when they confront the wrong man. Now the leader of a white supremacist group is hot on their tail as is a jaded lawman with some disturbingly racist views of his own.

As the 4 vigilantes fight to thwart their ruthless pursuers, they’re forced to accept an age-old truth: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

Smoke Kings is a powerful and propulsive novel with a diverse and unforgettable cast of characters. Like Steph Cha’s Your House Will Pay it explores decades of racial tensions through a fictional landscape where the line between justice and revenge is blurred.

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