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Say Nice Things About Detroit Reviews

“You’ll love Scott Lasser’s style.  His book spans a few years but keeps moving with dialogue that’s natural and alive:  whites and blacks in Detroit , a setting you come to know and can feel what it’s about.  I know; I’ve been here most of my life.”—Elmore Leonard

“Detroit is autumnal in this quietly moving novel of place… Lasser composes his sympathetic cast into tableaux that are meaningful, even emblematic, but that, even when highly dramatic, aren’t forced. His restrained portrait of Detroit evokes real pathos.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Lasser, a native of Detroit, sets his poignant fourth novel in this embattled city. His hero, David Halpert, who has fled the city after high school, returns 25 years later. While trying to make sense of the recent murder of a former girlfriend, David falls in love—with a woman and with his hometown, a city where “you could be right downtown and still drive your car at seventy-five miles an hour.”–Cynthia Crossen, The Wall Street Journal (Notable release for July)

“Undeniably compelling…a bit of a “Made in Detroit” mash-up: an Elmore Leonard novel as it might be rewritten by the poet Philip Levine, suspenseful and bitterly melancholic all at once…This ambitious and ultimately accomplished novel manages to move from that rubble to a conclusion both harrowing and hopeful, a duality that seems a perfect encapsulation of Detroit’s present moment.”  –Dean Bakopoulos, San Francisco Chronicle

“Lasser’s Detroit may be a troubled city, but it is one whose vibrant soul is writ large in the small actions of its loyal citizens. With a serene and steady hand, Lasser’s spare but intense tale is a smart, intimate homage to the power of second chances. Put this book in the hands of fans of Richard Ford and Richard Russo.”  –Carol Haggas, Booklist, starred review

“Scott Lasser has written a moving story of people whose lives are stalled until they face events and places they’d rather avoid.  His book suggests that for people and cities, life’s greatest rewards are only achieved through struggle. A moving tribute to second chances and the august, desolate, melancholy city of Detroit.” –Thomas McGuane

“Though its characters and story are imagined, the author means to give a true-to-life portrayal of the first stirrings of Detroit’s revitalization after decades of free-fall.”–Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“This is a sharp, clear portrait of who we are now. Scott Lasser continues to shape a very distinct literary map.” — Colum McCann

“Lasser…knows which side of 8 Mile Road matters, and his intimate understanding of the city makes for a captivating novel rich with details of the local vernacular, weather, food, music, crime and, of course, cars. While the double murder and diverse characters drive the narrative, the city itself plays a central role. Detroit is not just the setting for Lasser’s story–it’s a place with a beating heart (weak pulse notwithstanding) and enough guts to have a future.”–Bruce Jacobs, Shelf Awareness

“Readers will savor this fast-paced tale of redemption in one sitting.”—Russell Miller, Library Journal

“In a city famous for ruin, a pilgrim’s tale of rebirth and renewal:  Scott Lasser’s narrative gifts are abundant, his characters a compelling and convincing lot.  Say Nice Things About Detroit, while true to life’s damages and sadnesses, is nonetheless a joyous, vital read.” —Thomas Lynch

“This appealing story may prompt some to hope (Detroit) will receive the chance at redemption that Scott Lasser so generously extends to his characters.” –Harvey Freedenberg, Bookpage

“For Detroiters, Lasser offers a glint of hope.  For those who wonder why anyone still lives in the home of the Not-So-Big Three, he provides a rich and satisfying answer.” –James Pressley, Bloomberg News

“Say Nice Things About Detroit”, Scott Lasser’s new novel is a moving, fast paced, economical story of race, crime and hope. Weighted by the death of his son and the end of his marriage, David Halpert, a young lawyer, returns home to the chaos of a dying Detroit to discover a love affair and his own brush with violence as the book rushes to its stunning conclusion.”  –Susan Richards Shreve (forthcoming: You Are the Love of my Life)

“Detroit-native novelist Lasser uses his city as a character — much like Baltimore for “The Wire.” Having settled in Denver, lawyer David Halpert is forced to return home to the decaying city to help his father care for his Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother. There, he discovers that his white high-school girlfriend, Natalie, and her black half-brother, Dirk, were murdered. Connecting with Natalie’s sister, David — still recovering from the death of his own young son and a divorce — tries to understand the murders as he journeys though the white suburbs and the black inner city.”–Billy Heller, NY Post, Required Reading

“It seems that Lasser believes–recognizing the difficulties, even the horrors, of the city, knowing that most of the press over the last forty years about its “renaissance” has been so much PR–that now, when no one appears to be watching, things are indeed changing in Detroit. The city becomes necessary to his characters and to the new life they imagine.” –Keith Taylor, Ann Arbor Observer

“This well crafted novel revolves around David Halpert’s move back home to Detroit after twenty five years…Highly recommended for the well developed characters and a strong sense of place.”–Ruth Freeman, Norwalk Citizen

“By the end we get to know the city almost as intimately as we know the characters.” –Kirkus Reviews