Hands Up by Stephen Clark# Book Review




Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.


This was a hard book to put into anyone category.  Was it a crime thriller, police procedural or a political commentary? Could have been any of them or a mashup of all three. But I think you are better just saying it is a bloody great read!

Told in the first person from three different perspectives.

Ryan a rookie cop who finds himself caught in the fallout from a fatal shooting.

Jade a college student struggling to finish her degree and living in in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighbour hoods.

Kelly an estranged father who reaches out to his family under tragic circumstances.

What follows is an amazing  tale full of twist and turns. Full of surprises and red herrings that astound the reader. Also an investigation into institutional racism within Philladelphia’s  police force and also throws up the question of reverse racism as black militants seek justice for the killing of a young black man.

The characters are all well rounded and vital to the storyline. The quality of the prose and writing is of a high standard without a wasted word. Also the short chapters, whilst maybe not to everyone’s taste certainly keep the narrative flowing and the reader turning the pages furiously.

A complicated plot is told in a simple manner that grips the reader and doesn’t let go!

I wish to thank Stephen Clark for the ARC in return for an unbiased review. These thoughts and review are all my own.

I would give this book 5 stars.

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