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Crook Manifesto

‘Fast, fun, ribald’ Sunday Times

«Colson Whitehead is one of the most talented storytellers in contemporary fiction, and watching him switch his approach and flex new muscles is a wildly entertaining reading experience»

Los Angeles Review of Books
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24 x 16 cm


«Colson Whitehead is one of the most talented storytellers in contemporary fiction, and watching him switch his approach and flex new muscles is a wildly entertaining reading experience»

Los Angeles Review of Books

«Whitehead is as elegant a writer as there is»

Bristol Magazine

«Whitehead's writing is colourful and captivating - the characters jump off the page»

The i

«Whitehead's Crook Manifesto is a dazzling treatise, a glorious and intricate anatomy of the heist, the con and the slow game. There's an element of crime here, certainly, but as in Whitehead's previous books, genre isn't the point . . . gleefully detonates its satire upon this world while getting to the heart of the place and its people»

New York Times Book Review

«The only living novelist to have won the Pulitzer prize for fiction twice, for The Underground Railroad in 2016 and The Nickel Boys in 2019...Resilience and reinvention are qualities that Whitehead has poured into Ray Carney, the furniture salesman and middleman for stolen goods at the heart of his hugely enjoyable 2021 heist novel Harlem Shuffle and now its follow-up, Crook Manifesto. Part of a proposed trilogy set in Harlem in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the stories combine the family man turned crook dynamic of Breaking Bad with the hardboiled humour of crime novelists such as Chester Himes and Elmore Leonard. The blend of social realism, melodrama and farce prompted another comparison in my mind: Whitehead is fast becoming the Dickens of black American life»

The Sunday Times

«Fierce and glorious ... Sentence by brilliant, funny sentence, a masterpiece»


«Whitehead excels at stitching gallows humour into some very heavy topics, and this novel is riven with them. It is violent, too, but he dispatches this with a Quentin Tarantino-esque swagger, which makes it all indecently entertaining . . . a stylist whose sentences sing»

Nick Duerden, I Newspaper

«As well as being funny, effortlessly streetwise and criminally pleasurable to read it's also politically enlightening and quietly incendiary»

Jane Graham, Big Issue

«Whitehead captures the menace and the beauty of the city in exhilarating detail within the many-faceted, rollicking plot that propels his second, magnificently vibrant and transcendent Ray Carney novel. Readers will hunt for any new book by Whitehead, but the newest in his Harlem saga will be sought with particular zeal»


«Whitehead's gift for sudden, often grotesque eruptions of violence is omnipresent, so much so that you almost feel squeamish to recognize this book for the accomplished, streamlined, and darkly funny comedy of manners it is . . . It's not just crime fiction at its craftiest, but shrewdly rendered social history»


«Fast, fun, ribald and pulpy, with a touch of Quentin Tarantino in its deadpan dialogue and don't-take-this-too-seriously tone»

Sunday Times

«Crook Manifesto . . . is a delight . . . Few writers combine depth of insight and compassion with exquisite prose; Whitehead is one of them. I'd rather read his novels than those of just about any other writer alive.»

Financial Times

«Carney remains an appealing, amoral hero: a not-quite-innocent. Whitehead's New York, too, is masterfully characterful. It has intelligence, wiles, predatory cunning....And it hands down great, blunt judgements...For my money, Whitehead's crime series is one of the most enjoyable streaks in recent fiction...Crook Manifesto gave me something I had missed in recent reading: joy»


«Almost gleefully unhurried - meaning that blindsiding moments of pivotal drama arrive like a blow to the solar plexus. Roll on the third book in the series»

Daily Mail

«Whether in high literary form or entertaining, page-turner mode, the man is simply incapable of writing a bad book»


«Sly plotting, vibrant characterisation, astute social history - this novel has it all»

Hephzibah Anderson, Mail on Sunday

«More page-turning, perfect prose from the double Pulitzer prize-winner»

Grazia's Summer Reads

«Full of the same sharp edges and biting humour that infused Harlem Shuffle . . . another hugely enticing read»

Independent, Best Books for July

«In Whitehead's second crime novel, Harlem's Ray Carney is once again a striving African American businessman and father trying to get ahead while sticking to the straight and narrow, a path that continually eludes him»

Oprah Daily

«Whitehead has a talent for creating ambiguous, complex scenes that fix in your memory»

Evening Standard

«Crook Manifesto examines how families work in the face of indifference, chaos and hostility»

Irish Examiner

«As usual, when he moves into a new genre, he keeps the bones but does his own decorating»

Washington Post

«Literary titan Whitehead's Harlem Shuffle is one of the best New York novels in recent memory, one of those books one doesn't want to end, so it's a real treat to have a sequel»

Publishers Weekly, Best Summer Reads

«There's spikey humour and perceptive honesty from the get-go»


«Whitehead has always been a diverse novelist, moving between historical fiction, science fiction, social realism and post-modernism. Yet, with these novels, it seems as if he has found a groove he can inhabit and expand at the same time»

Stuart Kelly, Scottish Mail on Sunday

«Highly charged . . . colourful and captivating»

Woman's Way, Ireland

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