Monday, August 18, 2014

REVIEW: Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith


What if overcoming the legacy of American slavery meant bringing back that very institution? A young black attorney is thrown headlong into controversial issues of race and power in this page-turning and provocative new novel.

Martin Grey, a smart, talented black lawyer working out of a storefront in Queens, becomes friendly with a group of some of the most powerful, wealthy, and esteemed black men in America. He’s dazzled by what they’ve accomplished, and they seem to think he has the potential to be as successful as they are. They invite him for a weekend away from it all—no wives, no cell phones, no talk of business. But far from home and cut off from everyone he loves, he discovers a disturbing secret that challenges some of his deepest convictions…

Martin finds out that his glittering new friends are part of a secret society dedicated to the preservation of the institution of slavery—but this time around, the black men are called “Master.” Joining them seems to guarantee a future without limits; rebuking them almost certainly guarantees his death. Trapped inside a picture-perfect, make-believe world that is home to a frightening reality, Martin must find a way out that will allow him to stay alive without becoming the very thing he hates.

A novel of rage and compassion, good and evil, trust and betrayal, Forty Acres is the thought-provoking story of one man’s desperate attempt to escape the clutches of a terrifying new moral order.

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Atria Books
ISBN 1476730539 (ISBN13: 9781476730530)

About the Author

Working professional screenwriter represented by Resolution and Circle of Confusion. I have sold or optioned six spec screenplays and I have been hired by studios for numerous rewrites. Currently I have two movies in post-production, STUCK and THE CLOSET. Both are due to be released in 2014.

My first novel, a thriller titled FORTY ACRES, is scheduled for release by Simon & Schuster July 1st, 2014.

Check out the author's website

My Thoughts

Martin is a black lawyer whose career is taking off, when he is approached by Damon Darrell, another black lawyer who is well known and well respected in town. Damon reaches out to Martin as a friend, and their friendship quickly grows into a bond like that found between brothers. Damon introduces Martin to his other group of friends-- all of which are successful black men. One day Martin is invited on a getaway with this group of impressive and powerful friends, and it leads him to some startling revelations and the discovery that his friends are involved in white slavery, and followers of an old black man by the name of Dr. Kasim.

At times this story seemed awkward and somewhat childish in its simplified assessments.
There was also the all-white staff to consider. How awkward must it be for them to just stand there, listening to a story of how their ancestors committed genocide against people who looked a lot like their current employers.
And I always get frustrated with storylines like this that have some mentor spewing crap that everyone views as genius. It seems preposterous to me when the sensible protagonist Martin almost immediately seems to seriously consider the madness as a truth (even if he eventually decides it isn't). Why even pollute and convolute a perfectly fascinating storyline with such ridiculousness? Why not just have simple revenge as the motivating factor? Rather than ridiculous theory and propaganda that fuel this group of mad lunatics, make them simply a group of angry and cruel black men? That would have been more believable, but perhaps the author didn't want to risk playing into the "angry black man" stereotype? I just always have a hard time falling for the group that seem to be under mass hypnosis, perhaps because I am such a strong-minded individual.

My final word: I had such high hopes for this story, but in the end I wound up having a really hard time with the main character Martin, and all of his justifications for his own actions. I thought it was a fascinating idea, but it wound up preposterous. It would have been much better if it had been built on simple revenge, but instead it was convoluted with Dr. Kasim and his propaganda. I don't know. I had high hopes, but in the end I would up pretty disappointed and not liking it all that much.

Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble

My Rating:


I received a copy of this book to review through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.

No comments: