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Your House Will Pay
Cover of Your House Will Pay
Your House Will Pay
A Novel
by Steph Cha
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"[A] suspense-filled page-turner." —Viet Thanh Nguyen, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Sympathizer

"A touching portrait of two families bound together by a split-second decision." —Attica Locke, Edgar-Award winning author of Bluebird, Bluebird

A Best Book of the Year
Wall Street Journal ? Chicago Tribune ? Buzzfeed ? South Florida Sun-Sentinel ? Book Riot ? LitHub ? BOLO Books

A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in Los Angeles, following two families—one Korean-American, one African-American—grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime

In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it's been since the unrest of the early 1990s. But Grace Park and Shawn Matthews have their own problems. Grace is sheltered and largely oblivious, living in the Valley with her Korean-immigrant parents, working long hours at the family pharmacy. She's distraught that her sister hasn't spoken to their mother in two years, for reasons beyond Grace's understanding. Shawn has already had enough of politics and protest after an act of violence shattered his family years ago. He just wants to be left alone to enjoy his quiet life in Palmdale.

But when another shocking crime hits LA, both the Park and Matthews families are forced to face down their history while navigating the tumult of a city on the brink of more violence.

"[A] suspense-filled page-turner." —Viet Thanh Nguyen, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Sympathizer

"A touching portrait of two families bound together by a split-second decision." —Attica Locke, Edgar-Award winning author of Bluebird, Bluebird

A Best Book of the Year
Wall Street Journal ? Chicago Tribune ? Buzzfeed ? South Florida Sun-Sentinel ? Book Riot ? LitHub ? BOLO Books

A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in Los Angeles, following two families—one Korean-American, one African-American—grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime

In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it's been since the unrest of the early 1990s. But Grace Park and Shawn Matthews have their own problems. Grace is sheltered and largely oblivious, living in the Valley with her Korean-immigrant parents, working long hours at the family pharmacy. She's distraught that her sister hasn't spoken to their mother in two years, for reasons beyond Grace's understanding. Shawn has already had enough of politics and protest after an act of violence shattered his family years ago. He just wants to be left alone to enjoy his quiet life in Palmdale.

But when another shocking crime hits LA, both the Park and Matthews families are forced to face down their history while navigating the tumult of a city on the brink of more violence.

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About the Author-
  • Steph Cha is the author of the Juniper Song crime trilogy. She's an editor and critic whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. A native of the San Fernando Valley, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two basset hounds.

Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    May 1, 2019

    Noted for her well-reviewed "Juniper Songs" mystery series, the noir editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books writes a story for everyone to read. In a Los Angeles ready to boil over after another senseless shooting of an African American teenager, Korean American Grace Park lives quietly with her immigrant parents, while African American Shawn Matthews confronts the reawakened trauma of his sister's 1991 killing. A subsequent tragedy puts the two families on a collision course that sums up racial tension today. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 5, 2019
    Based on a true case, Cha’s ambitious tale of race, identity, and murder delivers on the promise of her Juniper Song mysteries (Dead Soon Enough, etc.). Racial tensions in Los Angeles are at a boiling point following the police shooting of a black teenager, and 27-year-old Grace Park, who lives with her Korean immigrant parents, shares the sense of outrage felt by many. Her sheltered world is suddenly shattered when her mother, Yvonne, is shot in front of the family pharmacy in a drive-by shooting. Dark family secrets begin to emerge about Yvonne’s involvement in the notorious 1991 shooting of Ava Matthews, an unarmed young black woman, by a Korean shopkeeper. Grace is torn by conflicting emotions of concern for her mother and shame at the implications of her mother’s crime. Meanwhile, Ava’s brother, Shawn Matthews, has tried to put the past behind him. When news of Yvonne’s attempted murder reaches him, it brings up emotions Shawn has long fought to keep down. The tension rises as the authorities circle in on his family as possible suspects in Yvonne’s shooting. This timely, morally complex story could well be Cha’s breakout novel. Agent: Ethan Bassoff, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin.

  • Kirkus

    August 15, 2019
    A real-life racial incident is transfigured into a riveting thriller about two families' heartbreaking struggles to confront and transcend rage and loss. It is the late summer of 2019, but no matter how many years have passed, Shawn Matthews, a black ex-convict now working for a Los Angeles moving company, is burdened by memories of the early spring of 1991, when his teenage sister Ava was shot to death by a Korean woman who mistakenly believed she was stealing from her convenience store. The shooting and the resulting trial--in which the woman was convicted and received no jail time, after which she relocated to another part of LA--fed into racial tensions already festering back then from the Rodney King trial. And the city's reactions to a present-day shooting death of an unarmed black teen by a police officer indicate that those racial animosities remain close to the boiling point. In the midst of the mounting furor, Grace Park, a young Korean woman, is shaken from her placid good nature by the sight of her mother being wounded in a drive-by shooting. "What if she is being punished?" her sister Miriam says, revealing a shocking fact about their mother's past that Grace hadn't known. An LAPD detective asks Shawn if he has an alibi for the drive-by (which he does). Nonetheless, the most recent shooting upends his fragile sense of security, and he starts to wonder where his cousin, Ray, himself just released from prison, was when Grace's mother was shot. Cha, author of the Juniper Song series of detective novels (Dead Soon Enough, 2015, etc.), brings what she knows about crafting noir-ish mysteries into this fictionalized treatment of the 1991 Latasha Harlins murder, blending a shrewd knowledge of cutting-edge media and its disruptive impact with a warm, astute sensitivity toward characters of diverse cultures weighed down by converging traumas. Cha's storytelling shows how fiction can delicately extract deeper revelations from daily headlines.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Michael Connelly "A marvel. Cha finds new angles on a city that has been the focus of myriad stories and films. Unique and totally gripping."
  • Los Angeles Times “Taut . . . A dramatic page-turner . . . A deep dive into Los Angeles' racial underbelly and tensions. It's a timely book that showcases two cultures and two families forced to confront injustice, enduring anger, and profound loss.”
  • USA Today “Impassioned. . . . [Cha] dives so deep into her characters because she believes that communicating their nuances across racial lines is essential. . . . A page-turner.”
  • Wall Street Journal "Intricately structured. . . . A novel rich with incident and social observation."
  • Today Show “A mastery of form, Cha absolutely nails it. . . . It is absolutely brilliant and it keeps the pages turning.”
  • The New York Times Book Review “Elegant, suspenseful.”
  • San Francisco Chronicle “A propulsive, well-told, and most important of all, well-researched journey of two families. . . . Cha's writing is memorable and often poetic.”
  • Associated Press “Riveting. . . . Engrossing. . . . Cha unflinchingly delves into the complex emotions that drive families, violence, and the need to survive. Your House Will Pay sets a new high for the talented Cha.”
  • Los Angeles Review of Books “Compelling and risk-taking. . . . That Cha is drawn to contend with voices that don't strictly represent her cultural heritage, while taking head-on one of the most devastating events in Los Angeles history, is admirable as well as ambitious. Cha is a remarkably generous writer.”
  • Washington Post “This L.A. noir mystery ties past and present together without resorting to easy answers.”
  • Bustle “ An explosive story of race, identity, and violence.”
  • Boston Globe “Focusing on the lives of two Los Angelenos, Cha's crime novel steps back from her usual superb P.I. books to go deeper, examining the tensions between the Korean-American and African-American communities.”
  • Refinery 29 “[A] gripping thriller set during a racially charged moment in L.A.'s history.”
  • Alta “[Cha] understands the messiness of justice and the complexity of human interaction. . . . One of the pleasures of the book is how deftly Cha renders so many layers of Los Angeles society. . . . All of this is related unsentimentally and is refreshingly depicted.”
  • Nylon Magazine "Gripping, incendiary. . . . An incisive and searing look at race relations, violence, and the intersection of disparate traumas. It's a riveting, revelatory novel—a must-read."
  • Buzzfeed "It's an extremely delicate subject matter, and Cha does a masterful job imbuing each character with nuance and care."
  • The Millions "A propulsive and well-plotted novel set in Los Angeles where crime and tension are at an all-time high."
  • Library Journal (starred review) "Powerful. . . . Unforgettable."
  • Booklist (starred review) "Gripping, thoughtful. . . . May well be [Cha's] breakout novel."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Ambitious. . . . Timely, morally complex."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "A riveting thriller. . . . Shrewd."
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen, winner of the Pulitzer Prize "Steph Cha's Your House Will Pay has got it all. This suspense-filled page-turner about murder, repentance, and forgiveness draws from the fraught history of Los Angeles, where America's immigrant dream bleeds into America's racist nightmare. The novel would have been relevant thirty years ago. It will likely be relevant thirty years in the future."
  • Attica Locke, Edgar-Award winning author of Bluebird, Bluebird "Steph Cha has taken a dark moment in Los Angeles's violent history and cracked it wide open, creating a prism of understanding. . . . A touching portrait of two families bound together by a split-second decision that tore a hole through an entire city."
  • Elizabeth Little, author of Dear Daughter "A haunting portrait of two lives, and a city, in turmoil, Your House Will Pay is both a crackling page-turner and a deeply felt work of eloquence and devastating insight. Riveting—Steph Cha firmly establishes herself as one of crime fiction's most exciting voices."
  • Lou Berney, author of November Road "Steph Cha's Your House Will Pay is extraordinary, a deeply-felt and sharply-observed exploration of the ties the bind, and divide, family, community, and nation. It's moving, compelling, surprising, funny, explosive, and deeply humanan unforgettable...
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Steph Cha
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