Book Review: Deacon King Kong

An unexpected, humorous, emotional, page-turner from James McBride, ‘Deacon King Kong’ is the one you don’t want to miss!

James McBride’s almost humorous, emotion-stirring and odd novel, ‘Deacon King Kong,’ provides the readers – recommend for 20 and above year-olds – an inside look at the possible life residents of a housing project in south Brooklyn.

It all begins in the fall of 1969, when a church deacon, and former youth league baseball coach and umpire, ‘Sportcoat’ walks outside the housing project, pulls a gun out and in front of everyone, shoots one of his former baseball players – the community drug dealer.

The actual shooting is not as poignant an item in the story as is the reactions, the responses and the life stories of those who witnessed it or live in the housing project.

Which is what makes the book, well, odd. I was captured by the title, and the book cover, and when I sipped through the summary of the book, all I saw was a church deacon shot a drug dealer, I was hooked. The way I thought McBride was going to take his with his ink on the pages was not the way it went.

But, ‘Deacon King Kong’ is not a bad read. This is due to McBride’s artistry with words as he paints bright sketches of each and everyone who was affected by the shooting of the drug dealer from the victim himself to the residents who saw it to the local cops and to the members of Sportcoat’s church, as well as the Italian mobsters, and Sportcoat himself.

It is a long laundry list of characters, but each one matters.

And that is what makes this one a story I would recommend.