All that is good and all that troubles African-American life weaves through the late bestselling author Harris' (In My Father's House, 2010, etc.) final novel, composed in collaboration with Johnson (The Million Dollar Demise, 2009, etc.).
Cobi Winslow is a hard-charging state's attorney in Chicago, the adopted son of a wealthy manufacturer of African-American hair-care products. But Cobi's life changes dramatically after his parents are killed in a plane crash. He is left guilty and confused, having learned only days before the accident that he has a twin brother, a child not adopted because his father only wanted one son. Cobi's relationship with his father had been troubled since his father discovered Cobi in a homosexual tryst with a high-school classmate. Now in love with a local politician, Cobi remains closeted. Cobi soon learns his father's will has a condition. He will inherit millions in stock and trust-fund money only if Cobi marries before he turns 34. The stock in limbo is essential to maintain family control, as Cobi's sister, Sissy, a business whiz and interim CEO, discovers. Sissy hatches a plan to arrange a marriage for Cobi, but Cobi is focused on finding his twin and, deus ex machina, Cobi stumbles on his brother, Eric, while doing legal work at a prison where Eric is finishing a sentence. Much to Sissy's dismay, Cobi invites Eric to live with him, but that doesn't stop Sissy from adding a marriage candidate to the household, Austen Greer, a realtor in financial straits. The narrative moves quickly, but the characters and setting seem stereotypical. The Winslows move in a prosperous, influential and educated African-American social milieu. There's much mention of skin tone, brand names and trendy restaurants. Conversely, Eric, and his prison friend, Blac, the catalyst for the story's conclusion, are poorly educated, involved with drugs or products of a failed system. Chapters are short, many presented in the first-person from Cobi's point of view, and there's a conclusion with a surprising twist, albeit one that leaves a plot point adrift.
Sure to appeal to Harris fans.