I wanted to get a lot of writing done yesterday, but I didn’t. And I blame Steph Cha and her incredible book, YOUR HOUSE WILL PAY. I read the last 70 percent or so of Cha’s latest novel in one sitting because I could not put it down. The way she connected the early ’90s L.A. Uprising to the present through the story of two families with intertwined pasts had me riveted.
Shawn Matthews still remembers the violent death of his older sister, Ava, at the hands of a Korean woman. Meanwhile, Grace Park is saddened by the unexplained rift between her mother and sister.
When Grace’s mother is gravely injured by a masked shooter outside the family business, the elder Park’s past is exposed, sending Matthews and Parks on a collision course. And as a separate police shooting has tensions in Los Angeles reach a point not seen since the riots of 1992, which was partially a result of Ava’s death, Shawn and Grace wrestle with racism and the ideas of justice and punishment.
Because much of the narrative is based on a true story, I’m sure L.A. residents will have an even greater appreciation for this story than I did. But it was refreshing to read a novel about Los Angeles that included several perspectives I — and I imagine most readers — don’t get enough of.
The bottom line is that this novel is easily one of the best pieces of crime fiction I’ve read this year, written with the craft and storytelling ability I and most authors aspire to.