5 Fiction Books Inspired by Police Violence Against Black People in America

Source: Twitter
Source: Twitter

There's an age-old adage for authors: "Write what you know."

When it comes to writing about police violence, more authors are doing just that. The United States' national conversation about police shootings of black citizens has spawned an unlikely literary sub-genre, according to a new report by Hillel Italie for the Associated Press.

Read more: How Rodney King's Assault Is Still Shaping Black Activism in Los Angeles 25 Years Later

The topic isn't exactly new. Fiction writers like Walter Mosley have been grappling with police violence in black communities for decades. But what is new is the prominence of movements like Ferguson and Black Lives Matter in more recently published works. 

"This particular issue has long and faithfully been represented in crime fiction," Joshua Kendall, editor-in-chief of Mulholland Books, told the AP. "It's simply that much of the fiction has been overlooked, just as the actual rate of abuse overlooked by media until now. That said, we need and want more fiction about it. The curiosity, concern and appetite seem to have finally grown."

Here are a handful:

The Sellout

Written by author Paul Beatty and published in 2015, The Sellout takes a satirical look at police violence in a black community in Los Angeles. The book's protagonist goes on a search for answers after his father is shot and killed after a confrontation with police officers.

Underground Airlines

Written by Ben H. Winters and due out in July, Underground Airlines grapples with an America in which the Civil War never happened and black people are still, to varying degrees, enslaved. 

Out of the Blues

Written by Trudy Nan Boyce, an author who spent more than 30 years on Atlanta's police force, Out of the Blues follows a young female detective assigned to reinvestigate the cold case murder of a blues musician. The book was released in February.

Detective, Heal Thyself

Walter Mosley, a giant in the crime fiction genre, is currently working on a new novel, according to the AP. Mosley said it's about a former New York City police officer who's investigating the murder of two police officers by a black man who claims they tried to shoot first.

Violent Spring

Written by author Gary Phillips and published in 1994, Violent Spring takes place in the wake of the Rodney King verdict and riots. As Los Angeles tries to find its way forward, a grisly new murder is uncovered that leaves an already fractured community searching for even more answers. 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Jamilah King

Jamilah King is a senior staff writer at Mic. She was previously an editor at Colorlines.

MORE FROM

Kshama Sawant on why Seattle needs an independent investigation into the Charleena Lyles shooting

Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative party, discusses the Charleena Lyles investigation, tenant voter registration, why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 and more.

The EPA seeks to undo clean water rule, putting 117 million Americans' water at risk

The new rule could have "long-reaching consequences for everyone living in the United States.”

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Here's what New York's first official LGBTQ monument will look like

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.

How will Trump's travel ban be enforced? Here's what the Supreme Court's decision really means.

The Supreme Court's order prevents most of the ban from taking effect before the case is heard, with limited exceptions.

Tick saliva could be the key to fighting a dangerous heart condition

Ticks could hold the secret to treating this heart condition.

Kshama Sawant on why Seattle needs an independent investigation into the Charleena Lyles shooting

Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative party, discusses the Charleena Lyles investigation, tenant voter registration, why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 and more.

The EPA seeks to undo clean water rule, putting 117 million Americans' water at risk

The new rule could have "long-reaching consequences for everyone living in the United States.”

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Here's what New York's first official LGBTQ monument will look like

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.

How will Trump's travel ban be enforced? Here's what the Supreme Court's decision really means.

The Supreme Court's order prevents most of the ban from taking effect before the case is heard, with limited exceptions.

Tick saliva could be the key to fighting a dangerous heart condition

Ticks could hold the secret to treating this heart condition.