The Drift by John Ridley

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He was Charles Harmon, a black man “living white” and living well—beautiful wife, German car, big house—in an upper-upper-middle-class suburb of Los Angeles.

He is Brain Nigger Charlie, a train tramp eking out a ragged existence on the railroads, leaning on drugs to keep him from thinking about everything he had, everything his creeping dementia has forced him to run from.
Charlie’s been asked a desperate favor: find the seventeen-year-old niece of the man who taught him how to survive the rails—a girl lost somewhere on the High Line, the “corridors of racist hate” along the tracks of the Pacific Northwest. Charlie has little hope of finding her alive, but the request is an obligation he can’t refuse. The search is a twisted trail that leads from Iowa to Washington State, mixing lies and deceit, hate and hopelessness, and brutal, stubbornly unsolved murders. All of which Charlie is prepared to meet in kind. What he isn’t prepared
for is a path that will eventually lead him back to what he thought no longer existed—his own humanity—though the toll may turn out to be his life.

At once stunningly visceral and psychologically complex, furiously paced and deeply empathic, The Drift is John Ridley’s most ambitious, most galvanizing novel yet.

About John Ridley

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John Ridley, who lives in Los Angeles, is the author of four highly regarded novels, and a former producer on NBC’s Third Watch. He wrote and produced the film Undercover Brother, wrote the story for Three Kings, and wrote and directed Cold Around the Heart. His novel Stray Dogs was made into the movie U Turn, directed by Oliver Stone. He is also a regular commentator for National Public Radio.From the Hardcover edition.
Published September 17, 2002 by Knopf. 288 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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When black Los Angeles tax-lawyer Charles Harmon is told by his wife Beverly that she’s pregnant, Charles falls into nightmares of her having a three-eyed baby, the third eye cobalt blue in the baby’s cheek.

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Publishers Weekly

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She manages to escape, and as Charlie races Kessler to find her, he picks up more information on her whereabouts from a sympathetic cop named Haxton Boole, who intervenes on Charlie's behalf when he is picked up and tortured by an FBI agent after a battle with Kessler's men.

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Book Reporter

Charlie brings the girl back home, she finishes school and becomes a doctor, and Charlie sobers up, reunites with his wife, and goes back to his law firm where he is greeted with open arms and an offer to double his salary.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Drift

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