Endangered: A Novel

Endangered: A Novel

Jean Love Cush

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0062316230

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

An innocent black teenager is accused of murder in this provocative and compassionate thriller that skillfully probes issues of race, class, crime, and injustice and offers a searing portrait of modern America.

From the time her son, Malik, could walk, Janae taught him that the best way to stay alive and out of trouble with the law was to cooperate. Terrified for his safety, she warned him, “raise your hands high, keep your mouth shut, and do whatever they say,” if the police ever stopped him. But when a wave of murders hits Philadelphia and fifteen-year-old Malik is arrested, Janae’s terror is compounded by guilt and doubt: Would Malik have escaped jail if he’d run?

Unable to see her son or pay for his defense, Janae, a cafeteria worker, reluctantly allows Roger Whitford, a white human rights attorney, to represent Malik. With the help of an ambitious private attorney named Calvin Moore, Roger is determined to challenge the entire criminal justice system and expose its inherent racism—racism that threatens the very existence of America’s young black men.

Offering a startling and unprecedented defense, the lawyers spark a national firestorm of debate over race, prison, and politics that burns to the very core of Janae herself. As she battles to save her son, she begins to discover that she is also fighting for her own survival and that of her community.

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begging him to get it, not as a reporter, but as a man, a fellow human being. “Because they are the ones endangered. It’s not even close, the number of black boys we are losing to violence, illiteracy, and drugs, on a daily basis, compared to white boys. It’s a crisis that is staring us dead on. Why should we care about tigers existing more than our fellow human beings who can think and reason and if given the right opportunities help solve the great mysteries of the world?” “If they were that

ODDLY REFRESHING. JANAE had sworn to herself numerous times that if she ever came into some money the first thing she would do is move to Florida, or Arizona, any place warmer. But now the biting wind and the swirl of fluffy snowflakes felt cleansing. She and Calvin marched a good three blocks to get to his car. The wind stunned Janae’s face as if a hundred tiny tweezers were plucking at the finest hairs on her skin. When the bites became too painful she started walking backward. “What are you

him with an ice-cold bucket of water and sent him back to school. He went, and he continued to go, as far as she knew. He was good with the big stuff. Malik didn’t use drugs, and he respected her most of the time. There was typical stuff she dealt with. Stuff no parent can escape with a teenage boy—like not coming home on time, usually because of girls. The public defender’s words echoed threateningly in her head: “Today is going to be pretty routine.” This was the worst event of their lives

Gaines’s mother will be interviewed, if she hasn’t already been.” The judge sat unnaturally erect as he followed this exchange. “Really?” Calvin’s eyes squinted as he stared the officer down. “My question was confusing?” “I have no further questions for this witness.” Calvin turned to walk back to the defense table. He rubbed his chin pensively. Roger grabbed Calvin by the arm before the young attorney had the chance to address the court again. “Where the hell did that come from?” he

exhausted from having to do everything herself. She didn’t know how much longer she could keep it up. She shook her head in regret. There wasn’t anyone who could help her through this. She never knew her own father. There were no uncles, brothers, no father figure in her community she could turn to. She stuffed the card back into her coat pocket. Janae arrived at the CPHR building wishing she were not alone; alone like every other woman she knew. The CPHR was located inside a huge two-story

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