The reluctant King


Book - 2021

"Meet the Kings, one of the most influential families in New York City. In the power circles of the movers and shakers, they are regarded as modern-day royalty. A politically connected father, a socialite mother, and three promising children: they look every bit the all-American family ... but every family has secrets. Some darker than others. Of all the children, Shadow is the least like the rest of the Kings. To call him soft wouldn't be quite accurate, but he lacks the leadership qualities of his older brother, Ghost, or the ruthless tendencies of his sister Lolli. Shadow is just ... Shadow. Instead of accepting his role in the Monarchy created by his father, Shadow would rather spend his days chasing women and hanging out in t...he hood with his best friends, Fresh and Pain. He is totally oblivious to the perils that come with his last name--until danger introduces itself. On the night of their mother's fiftieth birthday gala, their father, Chancellor, is set to announce his plans to turn his political focus beyond his current position as a member of the city council. He has tasted the benefits that come with holding office, and has the power and influence to make a serious run at climbing the political ladder. The future is looking bright for the King family. That is, until the devil comes to claim his due, and threatens to destroy everything Chancellor has worked to build. To survive the coming storm, each member of the royal family will have to make a sacrifice, even those who are reluctant to wear the crown"--

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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Kwan Checked In
Urban fiction
Domestic fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
Brooklyn, New York : Akashic Books [2021]
Main Author
K'wan (author)
Physical Description
238 pages : genealogical table ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in present-day New York City, this derivative crime novel from K'Wan (the Black Lotus series) focuses on the King family, "players in the New York underworld since the 1930s." The familiar cast includes a violent son, Ghost, groomed to inherit the criminal empire; another son, Shadow, reluctant to get involved in the family business; their sister, Lolli, who wants her potential as a crime boss acknowledged by her father; and a significant character betrayed by a relative and gunned down in a hail of bullets. Current patriarch Chance King, a councilman, is planning a run for Brooklyn borough president, which he hopes will be a stepping-stone toward the mayoralty and, eventually, Washington, D.C. To get elected, Chance must distance himself from his illegal enterprises and designate someone else to keep them running. A predictable struggle for succession follows. Awkward prose ("Christian's eyes flickered sinisterly as he applied pressure") and sloppy details (New York City has not had aldermen since 1938) don't help. Fans of the Godfather saga looking for more of the same may want to have a look. (Sept.)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A crime family prepares for a birthday party. K'wan focuses on a powerful, violent family in his latest urban thriller. The Kings live in a large home in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, but control a political and criminal syndicate in Manhattan's Five Points neighborhood. The novel takes place during a single day in which the family prepares for a birthday party for the matriarch, Maureen, that will also serve as an announcement by her husband, Chancellor, that he's running for Brooklyn borough president. The book focuses on the couple's three children: Ghost, a violent sociopath and gangster ("Men who ran afoul of him left the world of the living"); Lolli, a savvy and ambitious nail salon owner; and Shadow, a 17-year-old with "little stomach for the family business." Ghost spends the day taking care of the criminal side of his family's business, while Lolli tries to convince a politician to endorse her father's campaign, and Shadow goes in search of a missing family member at his mother's request. It won't surprise readers to learn that the birthday party, when it happens, doesn't go quite as planned. K'wan is exceptionally gifted at ratcheting up suspense, and his dialogue rings mostly true to life. Some readers might be put off by the novel's unending machismo, in particular two sex scenes that read like transcripts of male-fantasy porn clips ("Mike plowed into her like he was drilling for oil"), but there's no denying the writer's talent for dark, gritty fiction. It's a page-turner. Suspenseful, gritty, and (sometimes painfully) macho. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.